A picture is worth a thousand words: An approach to learning about visuals

Merilyn Carter, Patricia Hipwell, Lorna Quinnell

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Students in the middle years encounter an increasing range of unfamiliar visuals. Visual literacy, the ability to encode and decode visuals and to think visually, is an expectation of all middle years curriculum areas and an expectation of NAPLAN literacy and numeracy tests. This article presents a multidisciplinary approach to teaching visual literacy that links the content of all learning areas and encourages students to transfer skills from familiar to unfamiliar contexts. It proposes a classification of visuals in six parts: one-dimensional; two-dimensional; map; shape; connection; and picture, based on the properties, rather than the purpose, of the visual. By placing a visual in one of these six categories, students learn to transfer the skills used to decode familiar visuals to unfamiliar cases in the same category. The article also discusses a range of other teaching strategies that can be used to complement this multi-disciplinary approach.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)4-15
    Number of pages12
    JournalAustralian Journal of Middle Schooling
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 2012


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