3 ways to make knowledge more visible
Why should we make knowledge visible?
Making knowledge processes visible in your classroom is helpful to many aspects of learning.
Firstly, it helps your students to visualise the learning processes that they go through every time they enter the classroom, helping them to structure their lessons and make the most out of the time you spend teaching them. Secondly, visual aids such as flowcharts highlight when students should persevere or repeat steps, giving those struggling the push they need to grasp concepts they find challenging. Thirdly, the processes students see made visible in one classroom help teach the structure of learning in all lessons, which might inspire your colleagues to make their own visual resources, increasing the benefits of visible knowledge!
However, there isn’t just one way to make knowledge visible in your classroom – the methods you use will differ depending on your students and your subject. Therefore, we have compiled three tips as a starting point, giving you some ideas for making knowledge visible that you can then fit to the specific needs of your classroom.
3 ways to make knowledge more visible
✓ Make visual aids – So much of how we learn is completely invisible to us. We don’t see the processes that allow us to gain knowledge, and therefore we may struggle to harness those processes to teach efficiently. Utilising visual aids to demonstrate how we acquire knowledge is incredibly beneficial. For example, this flowchart shows the way students learn Maths, allowing them to structure the processes they experience in each Maths lesson and even self-motivate themselves when they find themselves stuck on a particular step in the chart:
However, flowcharts highlighting the process of acquiring knowledge isn’t the only way a visual aid can be beneficial. Visual aids can also help students to deepen their understanding around already known concepts, or even begin to question and think critically about new information as it is first presented in lessons. For example, this resource on source analysis makes visible a deeper way of thinking about new content:
Whether a flowchart highlighting the structure of learning would be the most useful to you, or whether you’d like your visual aids to be deeper and more subject-specific, visual aids can be hugely beneficial not just for your students but for teachers also, providing a useful common reference around which to build your lessons. This reference point also helps students to work self-sufficiently, as they can follow guidance given by the graphic and reflect on their learning independent of the teacher.
✓ Use timelines – History teachers, you’re way ahead of us on this one, but timelines can be useful tools for every subject. Having a clear diagram to contextualise knowledge can make large chunks of information much easier to visualise and contextualise, increasing comprehension. Check out timelines such as the Mathigon Timeline of Mathematics or the National Geographic Timeline for inspiration. If you’re making your own to stick on your classroom wall, you might not have the time to be quite so comprehensive, but these premade timelines can serve as interesting starting points – or maybe something fun to explore with your class!
✓ Utilise ready-made Bedrock resources – If time isn’t on your side, then don’t worry! Bedrock has plenty of ready-made resources to be printed out, stuck to walls and shared amongst your students. Perhaps having a visual of roots and affixes could benefit your vocabulary tuition, or maybe our complete vocabulary curriculum could unlock high-level vocabulary for students of every subject. The Bedrock Learning website is full of handy resources, designed to make visible the learning processes your students go through when improving their literacy skills.
Many Bedrock schools have already made their vocabulary knowledge visible through their Bedrock displays!
These displays are a great way to get creative in your classroom, whilst simultaneously reinforcing the improvement of your students’ literacy skills. For ideas, why don’t you check out the #BedrockDisplay competition hashtag on Twitter. If you’re especially proud of a classroom visual aid you’ve designed, feel free to send it to us on our Twitter @Bedr0ckLearning – we’d love to see the ways you are making knowledge more visible in your classroom!