Thursday, April 24, 2008

Multiple Intelligences: Visual-Spatial

Some have argued that visual and spatial learners should have separate categories. The argument is that the brain does not process abstract visual and spatial visual information in the same way. Furthermore, some people have a difficult time with visual but excel in spatial thinking (or vice versa). Yet, Gardner has linked the two together.


Visual learners need to see the information being presented. They prefer to think about information in a way that is more visual and graphic. If a teacher sits and lectures without providing graphs or images, the visual learner can feel lost. A teacher will often hear a visual learner say, "I'm trying to picture it," and an overwhelming amount of abstract information can seem like overload.

Teaching Strategies
  • Graphs
  • Graphic Organizers - charts, Venn Diagrams
  • Images
  • Outlines
  • Concept maps
  • Metaphors
  • Collages (also kinesthetic)
  • Spreadsheets
  • Pictures
  • Videos (to a certain extent)
  • Slides
  • Ranking information in a visual way - timeline, etc.
  • Video editing


Spatial thinkers can visualize information well in a way that relates to physical space. For example, they find it easy to visualize an object rotated at different angles. In think of the world, they find it easy to envision a globe with various zones of countries. Spatial thinkers can take verbal information and apply it to a physical space. Thus, they'll think of a conversation by imagining where they sat. They'll take notes and lay them out spatially into separate areas.

Teaching Strategies

  • Belief Walk - where they walk from the agree to disagree side
  • Rank from 1-10 - where students hold up an item and physically move according to their rank
  • Divided Areas - having students divided up according to the space; for example, "this area is the house and this is the senate. Each desk represents one space."
  • Manipulatives designed to separate space - for example, having them place note cards on a long timeline or using hula hoops for Venn Diagrams
  • 3-D modelling - Google Earth, for example

No comments: