Improving Student Ability in Interpreting Visual Sources through Action Research, pp. 7 of 14

Stage 1 comprised of a hook activity to activate students’ prior knowledge on persuasive techniques. Symbols commonly found in students’ real life experience were used to connect their daily experience with what they are learning in class. This created an authentic learning experience and made the lesson more relevant and meaningful for them.  Students were also introduced to the elements of the Triangle Method.

Stage 2 sought to teach persuasive techniques to the students by using two additional scaffolds to help student use persuasive techniques more effectively to handle pictorial sources.

First, the students needed to be taught explicit skills on how to decode different parts of the pictures and do their observations of the pictures in a sequential and methodical manner.

  1. Divide pictures into 3 parts
  2. Note all the details of the source in 3 parts
  3. Decide which details in the source are most important
  4. Draw a triangle and put in 3 important details for analysis

Second, after the students have successfully decoded the picture, they were taught explicitly how to put the picture back together again in a coherent way to develop a historical interpretation to get the overall message. The two scaffolds were taught in tandem with persuasive techniques found in the cartoons.

  1. Based on the details of the triangle, develop a historical interpretation / message for the source
  2. Provide evidence to support answers from stage (ii) and (iii)

In Stage 3, teachers modelled with students how this could be done using a pictorial source. Students will then apply this methodology onto a new political cartoon or a pictorial source.

Six Steps Criteria of Success, the Triangle Method and Model-Think-Alouds

Criteria of success

The PLT designed a six steps criteria for success to help students evaluate their source in a systematic way and to help them pick out important details in the pictorial sources and interpret them effectively using persuasive techniques.

Related Teaching Materials

annex1.85 MB

An Inspiring Quote

"[Open-mindedness] includes an active desire to listen to more sides than one; to give heed to facts from whatever source they come; to give full attention to alternative possibilities; to recognize the possibility of error even in the beliefs that are dearest to us."

~ John Dewey, How We Think

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