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ERIC Number: EJ879529
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Mar
Pages: 7
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 8
ISSN: ISSN-0013-8274
The Role of Visual Thinking in Writing the News Story
Choo, Suzanne
English Journal, v99 n4 p30-36 Mar 2010
In this article, the author begins with a proposition asking what if visual thinking were privileged in the English classroom and then proceeds to elaborate on a curriculum grounded on three principles: (1) sense and perception as starting points; (2) meta-conceptual links between visual and verbal texts; and (3) the art of visualization in writing the news story. The emphasis on sensory experience, perceptual thinking, and visualization is a deliberate attempt to challenge reason, critical thinking, and linearity of thought that have come to dominate the teaching of writing in contemporary English classrooms. Typically in such classrooms, critical-thinking skills in various forms are emphasized, such as the ability to write a persuasive argument using logical reasoning or the ability to write an informed response by analyzing and evaluating a given text. The problem, however, is that by privileging critical thinking in the writing process, other forms of thought, particularly visual thinking, may be undermined. This curriculum was therefore designed to take into account the need to include both critical and visual forms of thought through a multimodal approach to teaching writing. The significance of a curriculum such as this is two-fold. First, visual texts provide an easier access to printed texts, particularly for English Language Learners, via the facilitation of meta-conceptual links. Secondly, for native speakers of English, the inclusion of strategies that promote visual thinking along with critical thinking is especially relevant given the image-saturated, mass-mediated societies that they are likely to be immersed in. Various scholars have pointed to the generation gap that currently exists between the thinking processes of young people due to their greater exposure to visual stimuli and the language-centered discourse in schools that depend on linearity of thought. The implication is that writing instructors will need to consider expanding the scope of the curriculum beyond the teaching of grammar and genre to include meta-concepts related to aesthetic composition in visual and printed texts. This would give students the opportunity to consider how to utilize techniques of visual design in the creation and organization of their writing. The primary goal of such an approach is to provide creative spaces in the writing classroom that would empower students to become not just writers but also composers of texts. (Contains 4 figures.)
National Council of Teachers of English. 1111 West Kenyon Road, Urbana, IL 61801-1096. Tel: 877-369-6283; Tel: 217-328-3870; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: High School Equivalency Programs
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A