Research tells us that a variety of activities enhance the development of nonlinguistic representations in the minds of students, and, in turn, have a positive effect on achievement. For teachers to assist students with learning new information by creating nonlinguistic representations so they may better organize their thinking and enhance their recall.
Brain researchers and cognitive psychologists inform educational practice by explaining how individuals store information in the brain in two different ways. The first and most commonly used mode is the linguistic form, which is the storing of knowledge in ways associated with words. The second mode is the nonlinguistic form, which includes expressing knowledge as mental pictures or even as physical sensations, such as smell, taste, touch, kinesthetic association and sound (Richardson, 1983). According to Marzano et. al. (2001), research tells us that a variety of activities enhance the development of nonlinguistic representations in the minds of students, and, in turn, have a positive effect on achievement. It is useful for teachers to assist students with learning new information by creating nonlinguistic representations so they may better organize their thinking and enhance their recall.
The following are activities teachers can use to engage students in developing nonlinguistic representations to enhance their understanding of academic content.
• Create graphic representations with a wide variety of graphic organizers.
• Make physical models (i.e., concrete representations of knowledge that is being learned, including math and science manipulatives).
• Draw pictures and pictographs (i.e., symbolic pictures).
• Create mental images such as asking students to close their eyes and imagine they are an explorer as the teacher reads an explorer’s story.
• Engage in kinesthetic activity that associates physical movement with specific information students are learning. For example, during a lesson on radius and diameter, one arm outstretched represents radius and both arms outstretched represents diameter (Marzano et. al. 2001, pp. 72-83).
For further information on all nine research-based instructional strategies for increasing student achievement, access the T-TAC (broken link) and type Robert Marzano into the search box. Keep in mind that you can access the T-TAC library online or visit in person.
Richardson, A. (1983). Imagery: Definitions and types. In A.A. Sheikh (ed.), Imagery: Current theory, research, and application (pp.3-42). New York: John Wiley & Sons.
Marzano, R.J., Pickering, D.J., & Pollock, J.E. (2001). Classroom instruction that works: Research-based strategies for increasing student achievement. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.