The impact of VISUAL AIDS on Learning

That is it, I am talking about those instructional devices that can be used in the classroom to encourage teaching and learning. Charts, slips of paper, film strips, series, videos, images, maps, etc.

Learning is not a simple process. It is said to be the change in behaviour, disposition and even personality brought by knowledge over the time. It is even more complex when we focus on different types of people, therefore different learning styles, and it can be acquired from different teaching styles, methods and approaches and the use of various resources. In order to stimulate leaner’s attention and arouse their interest, we should (or we must) use visual aids in order to help us to explain concepts, grammar points, or even elicit topics in a smoother way.

I usually start a lesson with an image or a video that relates to the topic of the lesson I am teaching. This will activate students’ schemata almost immediately. I generally spend 3 minutes to explore the topic and the picture itself and later I use background images to support learning. I also use visual aids to lower students anxieties and increase their affective filters. Using images and photos they will likely relate to, will increase the chances they feel a sense of familiarity in your classroom.

Not only do visual aids facilitate the teaching sphere, they also provide the students with the chance of identifying or recognizing the lessons objectives, goals and functions. As I mentioned before, images are bound to be connected to students’ preconceptions and therefore it usually causes the student to pursuit to recognize it.

This calls for another important issue, their adequate use. Of course, as teachers, we are not going to use inappropriate images/photos. It is the commonness of the images used I am referring to. It is utmost that we think as our students would in order to understand beforehand if that image is going to have the effect you want it to. Should you use images that are strange or not direct to the point, they may be barriers to the learning process instead of helping.

Generally, I ask myself the following:

  • How old are my students?
  • Are they familiar with this?
  • What is the first thing that comes to my mind when seeing this?

Or, when I am looking for the perfect image to be used in a lesson, I Google* keywords as to the feelings I want to cause or actions I would like students to reflect upon in order to direct learners towards the point more assertively.



Beatriz Solino de Francisco

Beatriz holds the Cambridge Train the Trainer and the DELTA Mods II and III(Teaching Exam Lessons). She has a Licentiate’s degree in English Language from PUC SP (2007). CPE level of proficiency and she has been teaching for 15 years. She is an Academic and Pedagogic Coordinator. She is currently doing a Company Management MBA at FGV.

1 Comment
  • Paula Bossi
    Posted at 10:19h, 05 março Responder

    I usually start my lesson with an image!!!! It works!!!!! Biiiiiiiaaa, great article!!

Post A Comment