Many methodologies such as Comprehensible Input, Immersion, the Total Physical Response Approach and the Direct Approach urge that teachers uses visual techniques to convey the meaning of a word, phrase or sentence (http://moramodules.com/ALMMethods.htm#The%20Direct%20Approach). By using these techniques teachers and students can be in the world language for 90% of the class (http://www.actfl.org/news/position-statements/use-the-target-language-the-classroom-0). In addition, instead of students going from learning an abstract world language word to an English word, they learn a world language word and see a concrete image for that word’s meaning. Dale’s Cone of Experience indicates that students remember better when they see instead of just hear (http://imagestack.co/52385894-edgar-dales-cone-of-learning.html).
A Sample of visuals:
1) Visuals – pictures, pictures from travels, pictures from the Internet, drawings, chalk talks, maps, timelines, projected images, graphs
2) Realia and props – clothing, food, movie ticket, game ticket, doll house
3) Actions – demonstrations, modeling, manipulatives, gestures (hand gestures, facial expressions, body language)
How often do you use these visual techniques to help your students better understand meaning in their new world language? How often do your students use visuals to help them express their ideas?
At http://bit.ly/mlcomcult, there are many world language visual stories for students to talk about.