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Remember Bush-Cheney Does anyone remember George W. Bush and Dick Cheney? They were president and vice president a mere eight years ago. Does anyone out there remember the way things were at the end of their duo? It was terrible...

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Families Need Representation When one party dominates the Michigan administration and legislature, half of Michigan families are not represented on the important issues that face our state. When a policy affects the non-voting K-12 students, they too are left out, especially when it comes to graduation requirements...

Raise The Minimum Wage I wanted to offer a different perspective on the issue of raising the minimum wage. The argument that raising the minimum wage will result in job loss is a bogus scare tactic. The need for labor will not change, just the cost of it, which will be passed on to the consumer, as it always has...

Make Cherryland Respect Renewable Cherryland Electric is about to change their net metering policy. In a nutshell, they want to buy the electricity from those of us who produce clean renewable electric at a rate far below the rate they buy electricity from other sources. They believe very few people have an interest in renewable energy...

Settled Science Climate change science is based on the accumulated evidence gained from studying the greenhouse effect for 200 years. The greenhouse effect keeps our planet 50 degrees warmer due to heat-trapping gases in our atmosphere. Basic principles of physics and chemistry dictate that Earth will warm as concentrations of greenhouse gases increase...

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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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