Math Education Should Focus On Visuals; Research Says
Math education should focus on visuals as that help to make teaching and learning more interesting, more stimulating, more reinforcing and more effective. Children, by their nature, are picture- minded. Pictures are representations of beautiful dreams of reality. They are old familiar friends both of teachers and students. They make the lesson clear, vivid and full of life. They simplify the abstractions and help in creating and maintaining interest. In teaching, pictures may be used to arouse interest, to introduce new topic, to illustrate specific steps in the problem, to develop appreciation, to test student's knowledge, to review units of subject-matter.
A chart is a combination of pictorial, graphic, numerical or vertical material which presents a clear visual summary. The main function of the chart is always to show relationships such as comparisons, relative amounts, developments, processes, classification and organization. Learning process can be made effective with the use of charts. Interest of students is increased in the lesson. They become more active. Knowledge becomes interesting and appropriate. Charts present the material in brief. They prove a constant source of information and means of imparting self- education to the students. The purposes of charts is to motivate the students, to show continuity in the process, to show relationship by means of facts, figures and statistics, to present matter symbolically, to present abstract ideas in visual form, to summarize information, to show the development of structures, to create problems and to stimulate thinking. Diagrams are the cheapest kind of aid in the effective teaching of almost all subjects.
They serve as potent spark plugs which may be ignited at the most appropriate moment. They are source of attention, interest, motivation, imagination, thinking, creativity, description, understanding and memory. The teacher should explain the diagram step by step in a proper sequence. The diagram should be used for developing and summarizing or reviewing the lesson. Graphs are by nature a summarizing device. Well drawn graphs are not only the language of statisticians, but also are effective tools for comparisons and contrast or for presenting complicated facts of mathematics to students. A good graph is simple, self-explanatory and tells its story at a glance. Graphs have been regarded as flat pictures which employ dots, lines or pictures to visualize numerical and statistical data to show statistics or relationships.
They are made according to exact specifications and depict specifically quantitative data for analysis, interpretation or comparison. Graphs, being symbolic and abstract in character, are best suited in the body and summary of a lesson after the student has acquired a background of information from other sources. The chalk-board or blackboard is the most important aid in the hands of the teacher. It is a teacher's real asset in class teaching as it serves to make direct appeal to child's senses and seeks to strengthen the retention and assists the recall of facts. It can be used to provide motivation, facilitate retention and recall, and foster pupil's participation. Closely associated with the blackboard, the bulletin board is one of the visual aids of great educational value. It serves as a place for the display of pictures, diagrams, graphs, etc. It provides motivation to the students as it appeals to their senses. It attracts their attention. It is the most active and exciting display element in the class-room. Bulletin board results in better and clearer understanding and promotes permanent retention. Teaching slides (glass slides or projection slides or lantern slides) carry significant value in the teaching procedures. The use of a single slide can vitalize an entire teaching session. It helps in the retention of the material taught in the minds of the students. The slides possess unique educational value. They prove as an effective educational aid as they attract attention, arouse interest and facilitate student-teacher participation.
Visuals offer great opportunities for learning as they are helpful in clarifying various points and concepts. They are useful in attracting attention and creating interest of the pupil in learning math. The subject no longer remains as boring, dull and unreal one. Visuals are the best motivators of our visual sense. They stimulate interest in learning. Senses are said to be the gateway of knowledge. Visual aids help in the maximum utilization of our visual sense organ and thereby facilitate the gaining of knowledge by the students. The use of visuals facilitates the teacher to follow the important maxims of teaching like 'simple to complex', 'concrete to abstract', 'and known to unknown', and learning by doing etc. They help to economies time and effort.
Much of the time and energy of both teachers and the taught may be saved due to the use of visuals as many difficult concepts may be easily understood through their use. They help the pupils in making association and recalling ideas. Association of ideas helps in fixing up the knowledge. Learning is influenced by association and recall. Teaching - learning process becomes quite stimulating and active through visuals. Mere passive learning does not help in achieving the objectives of teaching and education. Use of visuals helps in converting the passive environment of the class-room into a living one. They introduce variety to class-room techniques. The student experiences something new, when taught with the help of visuals. Any variety creates interest, motivates and stimulates teaching and learning. Visuals provide direct and representative experiences. When the students see various objects, they get direct experiences which make the learning permanent.
Research studies clearly reveal that visuals have genuine value in teaching math and their effectiveness depends on the clarity of purposes for which they are used, the age and mental level of the students and the influence of the teacher who uses them. So, we can conclude that use of visuals has high impact on the learning process of a subject like math and therefore their more and more use should be encouraged among the teachers, in order to make this subject simple and interesting and in turn making it a joyful learning experience for the students.