Letters

Letters 04-14-14

Benishek Inching

Regarding “Benishek No Environmentalist” I agree with Mr. Powell’s letter to the editor/ opinion of Congressman Dan Benishek’s poor environmental record and his penchant for putting corporate interests ahead of his constituents’...

Climate Change Warning

Currently there are three assaults on climate change. The first is on the integrity of the scientists who support human activity in climate change. Second is that humans are not capable of affecting the climate...

Fed Up About Roads

It has gotten to the point where I cringe when I have to drive around this area. There are areas in Traverse City that look like a war zone. When you have to spend more time viewing potholes instead on concentrating on the road, accidents are bound to happen...

Don’t Blame the IRS

I have not heard much about the reason for the IRS getting itself entangled with the scrutiny of certain conservative 501(c) groups (not for profit) seeking tax exemption. Groups seeking tax relief must be organizations that are operated “primarily for the purpose of bringing about civic betterment and social improvements.”


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Picture This...new tutoring center in TC uses mind maps

Anne Stanton - March 2nd, 2009
Picture This...new tutoring center in TC uses mind maps
Anne Stanton 3/2/09

The mind is a wondrous thing, and even more wondrous when it can picture or visualize a new concept.
That’s the philosophy of Brian Lynch, director of the gleaming icon Learning tutoring center above Cuppa Joe’s in Traverse City’s warehouse district. (Note: the business intentionally spells its name, “icon,” in the lower case.)
The tutoring center opened in January, but a dozen educators across the country have been working for years on developing this new visual learning system. The education team believes that students should be taught the big picture of a particular subject before getting to the details. That way the brain develops an organized matrix of the topic and can fit in events and facts where they make sense and connect to other facts.
“For example, you might ask a student what came first: the Revolutionary War or the Civil War. Some students don’t know because they don’t have the big picture of our country’s history. Too often, teachers give a little piece here and a little piece there, but the student doesn’t know the whole picture.”
And all that disorganized information is easily forgettable.

VISUAL LEARNING
Icon learning organizes the information in what are called image maps that use visual mnemonics—funny images that makes something easy to remember. There’s a big emphasis on humor. “We know people retain information best if it’s sexual, humorous or grotesque. In education, of course, we can only tap into humorous,” Lynch said.
Every time a new concept is introduced—the biography of a president, for example—the student is asked to reference back to the image map and place the information into the order it belongs. These image maps or word webs let the student quickly plot and connect large amounts of information.
“I’m a tough sell when it comes to new concepts. So I started applying this to my classes,” said Lynch, who teaches government at a Traverse City charter school. “I used word web maps in my class, visual learning images, and funny icons for class one. For class two, I taught in the traditional way. On the next exam, class one did much better. So then to make sure it wasn’t a case of class one having a higher percentage of smarter kids, I flipped the approach, and class two scored markedly higher.”
Lynch said the icon development team has correlated its lessons—for students in grades three through 12—with the State of Michigan’s education requirements. The approach encompasses all topics except foreign languages.

ALL AGES
The visual learning approach also has value for all ages no matter where they are in life. If you’ve returned to college for a new degree, this visual learning approach might be of great value, he said.
“I have found that all people can visualize and have pictures floating around their heads. If I flash a two-second picture, a person can retain far more than if I flash a block of words. There’s the cliché, a picture is worth a thousand words, and that’s true.”
Images are retained in long-term memory much better than text alone and allow you to think more expansively.
“What’s the third letter before the letter M? If you think visually, you’ll know it right away because you can picture the alphabet. If you can picture it in your head, you can easily move forward in time and backward.
“There are a lot of applications beyond education. People in business use this approach frequently. Parts of it have been implemented in schools, but it’s difficult to change tradition. That’s why our group decided to try it with a private tutoring center. The thinking is, if we can successfully introduce it in Traverse City, it can work anywhere in the country,” said Lynch.


 
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