Visualisation and the Implications for Writing Extensive Readers
by Jo Appleton
Practical Applications of Visualisation
- Visualisations can be used for speaking practice
as they create a natural information gap.
- For descriptions, a visualisation of a student's
relative, focusing on personality and physical appearance,
can be followed by students describing the relative to a
partner. Write the questions from the visualisation on the
board as prompts, for example, 'What's he/she like? What
does he /she look like?'
- To stimulate speaking. For example, after
a visualisation of an airport departure lounge where students
hear the conversations of a variety of different people
(for example, two strangers who have just met etc), they
act out the conversations.
- For narrating. For example, after a visualisation
of a memorable event, students ask each other about the
event using the questions from the visualisation.
- They can be used for revising vocabulary.
- They can be used to develop students' self-confidence.
For example, a visualisation of a successful learning event.
The results of the research go some way to confirm
my ideas about the importance of visualisation. The research
indicates that with prior awareness raising and activities
encouraging visualisation learners may be able to visualise
and consequently comprehend and recall more and be more motivated
to read. However, I can in no way prove that these specific
genres raise awareness and increase the use of visualisation,
but I can tentatively state that I believe this to be the
case in view of these results. More research into this area
is necessary to gain a better understanding of the role and
benefits of visualisation and bring more credibility to this
field. On the whole the research has made steps towards showing
that if learners are encouraged to visualise through specific
use of genres in readers, then learners could make considerable
gains, not only in terms of motivation but also with language
learning in general.
So, I conclude with a plea to materials
writers for Extensive Readers and all writers, teachers:
- Try to write materials that encourage
visualisation but also leave gaps for visualisation to take
- Use interesting and varied topics and genres.
- Try to include more readiness activities
for visualisation before extensive reading.
- Try to provide suggestions and supporting
notes and information in the 'Teacher's Book'.
- Use appropriate and authentic tasks pre,
whilst and post-reading.
- Ask learners to make connections to their
own lives and experiences.
Finally, my concern is
that more materials are needed to encourage the use of visualisation
in language learning. I believe this can be achieved through
extensive readers for maximum benefit.
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is an ELT lecturer in the School for Languages at Leeds
Metropolitan University. She coordinates the International
Foundation Studies programme and is part of the materials
writing team, currently involved with projects in Ethiopia
|Jo is also
Membership Secretary for MATSDA. To join MATSDA you can
contact Jo at J.Appleton@leedsmet.ac.uk
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