When teachers represent ideas, how do they represent them? Linguistically! But, students learn by using there senses of touch, auditory, visual, etc. Using both linguistic and nonlinguisitic representation students are better able to think and recall information.
Here are two generalizations that can guide teachers in the use of nonlinguistic representations in the classroom from Classroom Instruction that Works
by Robert Marzano.
- A variety of activities produce nonlinguistic representations.
- Such as creating graphic representations, making physical models, generating mental pictures, drawing pictures and pictographs, and engaging in kinesthetic activity.
- Nonlinguistic representations should elaborate on knowledge
- For example, when elaborating on knowledge of fractions one should construct a mental model of how a fraction might appear in concrete form.
- The student will understand it in greater and recall it more easily.
In every class there are students who can just "see" the problem, or visualize what is in front of them. In my calculus class there were other college students who could visualize three dimensional shapes, I was not one of them. But I entered modern geometry and understood everything, the veil disappeared and I could see what I haven't before. I believe all students whether they like math, love math, or hate math have this veil over their head preventing them from visualizing the problem. It is the job of the teacher to lift this veil.