Sunday, April 29, 2012

Visual Literacy in My Life-Today
On the first day of Visual Literacy class, Magda talked about "making the invisible visible." Coming into VL, I thought we would be learning about art, about using visuals in the classroom and not really delving into perception and aesthetics as much as we did. I also didn't think of how impactful a lot of the activities would be, or how the movies would make me go AHA! But now, thinking back over the course of our class's experience this semester, I realize that I have learned a lot. Much of the "invisble" has become visible to me.

Aristotelian Aesthetics
I have learned to challenge my judgments, to look past face value and to consider how an object fits into the grander "scheme of things." Everything and everyone in our world is connected (something I learned from Crash), and we have to think about how the way we choose to represent ourselves, and our ideas, may affect others and our world. I also came to understand my own perception, and how perception is SO prominent in the media, advertising and in communication in general. Everyone has their own schema, and each individual's perception determines how he or she interprets a visual. When designing visuals, it is important to consider how the way you choose to represent something might affect different people. I got really interested into perceptual aesthetics during the course of our class, and I will use this new knowledge in my future classroom. Aesthetics is a very puzzling category of philosophy and visual studies, and I am very interested in learning more about this field, especially Aristotelian Aesthetic theory.

The movies and our class discussion was another favorite part of Visual Literacy this semester. Everyone in the class had a different perspective to offer when considering issues and visual theories that we encountered. Now when I watch commercials, I always think of Jean Kilbourn's Killing Us Softly, and I am shocked at how many ads contain subtle messages within the visual choices they make. Thinking about this fact, I wonder how I represent myself with my actions and body language. Non-verbal language, and visuals, say so much MORE than words. You know that phrase "actions speak louder than words,"? Well, it is incredibly true, and now more than ever I am tuned into the way visuals communicate in our society.

I had a great time in Visual Literacy this semester, and I will be able to use my knowledge in my future classroom. I just designed a teaching unit focused on Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales. I included an activity that was exclusively about using the visual communicative power of woodcuts in conveying a story. Students have to view different pictures, without seeing the accompanying words, and determine what is happening in the plot. There are lots of resources available out there for connecting medieval literature with art. Thanks to visual literacy, I know I will be more prepared to help students "make the invisible visible," and find deeper meaning from their classroom activities. I want them to look twice, at everything they encounter. Maybe they'll become a famous artist or filmmaker someday, and they can say, "my high school English teacher challenged me to do this." I would be so proud :)

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