Visceralization, Metaphors and Exploration
Visceralization (an enhanced method of visualization) helps students understand how an abstract concept interacts. Begin with a pad of paper, and in pictures, sketch the relationship between several ideas (to compose a simple model). Ask learners about the sound, feel and look of a concept – its function and response. A second method involves the use of metaphors (linking two concepts that aren't related) to tie together constructs. Metaphors, as an aid to building constructs, helps the student put together ideas, even if the model does not give accurate data. To facilitate the metaphor process, have students play a type of “that reminds me of" game that relates a concept. Students write down all ideas, regardless of how absurd or unrelated – to link ideas together that usually do not connect. This promotes student understanding by allowing the ability to view a new concept through known vantage points.
When linking constructs together, it helps the student fill in the blanks. If the student is less than meticulous in the metaphor or visceral approach, exploration plays a vital role in the holistic resource room to refine final understanding. Exploration entails checking models, metaphors and constructs for any mistakes – dismissing models unrepresentative of learning, then filling in the blanks for increased comprehension. Explore by reviewing and testing the whole idea network – homework, tests and assignments – to clear up any errors or gaps in understanding. Further exploration involves studying notes and assigned readings that designate ideas.
Most ideas of holistic approach components are integrated together in an individualized program. For example, a language arts program in the resource room combines the components of reading and writing with experiences that stress oral language, reading/writing that is individualized and the discourse of written language and strategy lessons within a holistic framework. Within the class framework, the “strategy methods" is the only component that's not a habitual part of the daily program. Use strategy methods only when a learner requires a specific skill (when the other four components remain ineffective). To increase student motivation, the instructor should model a variety of reading/writing exercises to promote comprehension:
- field trips
- informal lessons on reading/writing usage (how/why)
- reading to students
- labeling items in class
- letting students dictate written products
- incorporating written language into oral language
- activity planning that promotes the utility of reading/writing
Group students in the resource room with similar instructional weaknesses. Organize class so a student can start on any one of the components right away (by either job or contract sheet). Instructors do not offer help until needed. Students spend all of their resource time on one component or the other – without the teacher initializing an activity for holistic learning in the high school resource room.