Vision is not limited to the physical world that we can see, but is rooted in our subconscious as imagination. As students advance through school they are forced to use their imagination less and less because it is seen as something only for the arts. Visualization can be one of the most powerful tools we can give to students to insure their success. Vision is a skill that can be built up the same as reading and writing, but in order for our students to strengthen their visualization muscles they must have teachers who have done the same.
Last week I shared with you my vision of the perfect school day. I am not implying that students should be asked to imagine their days in that great of detail, but there are some simple strategies we can use to help get them started in visualization.
- Ask students to visualize and then write out their favorite lesson at school. This allows students to think back to a lesson that has stuck with them and understand why that particular lesson is one that they remember.
- Ask students to visualize an assignment and write down the steps to complete it. This one is counter intuitive to the common practice of giving students structured steps to follow. I like it because it allows students to think about the process of learning and to anticipate the problems they may face. Students, just like teachers, respond better to a challenge they had prepared for. It has the added bonus of seeing the activity from multiple angles that may not have occurred to us as teachers.
- Ask students to visualize a great day in each of their classes. What would the activities look like? How would learning take place? Why would this be a great day for you?
- Ask students to envision one of their siblings being in class with them. This one is particularly effect for students with behavior issues. I teach 6th grade and the majority of my students have siblings. For the students with older siblings asking them, “How would you feel if your brother saw you acting this way?” can be very powerful. If the student has younger siblings a question like, “What would you say to your sister if you saw her acting this way?” These types of questions give students the opportunity to visualize a situation from someone else’s perspective. If students aren’t able to see things from your perspective as a teacher they scaffold to that level by starting with the perspective of a sibling.
- Meditation. Giving students repeated opportunities to sit in silence and think can be very powerful. They are subjected to the same constant stream of information adults are and their brains have a much smaller capacity for inputs. It can be hard because many students see silence as a form of punishment, but if you frame it as free thinking and visualization time students can benefit from a few minutes of clarity. There are many meditation techniques, but my favorite is box breathing. Inhale for a count of five, hold your breathe for a count of five, exhale for a count of five, and count to five before your next breathe.
Comment below and share how you use vision with your students!!
Always remember #TGIT
Thank God I teach!!