Dave Tucker is Portugal-based teacher, trainer, and author. Watch a video and read an article in which Dave talks about his session on multisensory learning at the Image Conference in Lisbon on Friday evening, 13th October.
Remember times when you ask your students to bring along something from home for the next lesson? It might have been a photo of their family, a favourite holiday souvenir or even – if you were really ambitious – their homework! And then comes the carefully planned stage of the lesson where you say ‘So did everyone bring their family photos?’ and more than half the class looks embarrassed and starts searching for a rubber that just fell under their desk… Bang goes the next stretch of the lesson as there are only enough photos to share one between four, and, to be honest, while your own family photos are a source of pride, other people’s tend to be a bit… dull.
But there’s something that we can depend on every single student in every single class to bring along with them and that’s their memories, their imagination and their ability to summon those memories and relive them vividly, activate their imagination and fill it with deeply personalised detail and – in an instant – have readily shareable materials that YOU had to spend ZERO time preparing. Visualisation is the way to draw these out and fill classes with rich, varied and highly effective learning opportunities.
As we wander through the various ways that visualisation can be used to summon up vivid and memorable learning situations, we’ll see how – far from just being a series of mental images – it can spark the activation of other senses as well, in a surprisingly real way. This is one of the keys to effective learning, retention and recall and the theory and the science behind all of this gives us clues as to how to help students contextualise, fix and easily recall key language as well as giving them something to share with their fellow learners, secure in the knowledge that what they have to share is unique and distinct from every other student in the class.
Multisensory learning picks up where ‘learning styles’ faltered and failed, with solid proof that involving as many senses as possible really does make a difference to learning outcomes, where tailoring teaching to one particular ‘channel’ for each student’s preference, it transpired, doesn’t. But you don’t need to bake that cake, bring it in, hand out slices and watch the students devour your teaching aid in seconds flat; everything they need to savour that cake – the smell, feel, taste, look and pleasure of it is right there in their neural circuits and principled use of this fact is what makes multisensory learning via visualisation such a powerful learning tool.
I hope you’ll come and join me on Friday evening, 13th October and explore the inside of your brain and everything it has to offer in terms of learning, all activated via the technique of visualisation. We’ll have moments of quiet reflection, and plenty of sharing and fun as well. I look forward to seeing you there!
Dave Tucker has been in ELT for 30 years. By turns teacher, trainer, DoS, school owner and author, he is passionate about teaching and learning. He is author of fourteen books for YLs and YL teachers and has delivered workshops on four continents. Dave now writes, teaches, trains and travels.
Your inner sensory world: Visualisation as gateway to multisensory learning
The world inside our own head provides uniquely personalised and powerful learning opportunities. We’ll examine the science behind visualisation and how what we see in our head can activate the various sensory areas of the brain, making activities engaging, enjoyable and memorable for all ages.