Pictures for Thinking

When four years ago, I saw for the first time SRA curriculum Reasoning and Writing  by Siegfried Engelmann and Jerry Silbert, I was thrilled as I felt that I found the greatest tool for teaching thinking.  I was also mad that nobody (NOBODY!!)  mentioned that program before.  In the past years, Robert and I completed the first two parts A and B. Robert should have been introduced to that program when he was 10 or 12 or 14.  But he wasn’t.  He was past his 18th birthday when we started working on part A and then B.   Not that he mastered them.  For Robert, parts A and B were harder than  part C, we are doing now.  Second time around.  I will certainly return to the previous parts, but only after we complete most of the of the part C. Because it is the easiest one for Robert and because it seems priceless to me. I don’t mean  the elements of grammar (parts of speech, punctuation etc) which are also introduced there in a solid, easy, and systematic way.  I mean, something more important for Robert:  forming sentences based on pictures and limited bank of words.

1. Writing a short paragraph starting with a general sentence about what characters in the picture did, and following with details about each character’s action.  The bank of words follows the picture and helps the learner focus.

2. Comparing two similar pictures to find differences in small details and then build paragraph that would include details from one picture but not from the other.

3. Writing the sentences about what  happened between the  two situations presented in “before and after” pictures.

4. Following the sequence of pictures to tell the story  – again with the bank of words for support.

And of course, there is more than that.  Much more.

As I mentioned this is the second time, we work on Part C.   It is because before, neither Robert nor I really grasped most of the concepts which this book presents. In other words, it is  I who didn’t understand this textbook as a tool to teach foreign language.  But that what this curriculum is.  Connecting pictures with words.  Translating pictures into words, and then imagining invisible pictures that complete the scenes presented by other images and using words to “paint” it.  Translating images into words and words into images.

In the past, Robert always wrote the responses on the paper.  Now he does it only 50% of the time.  Another 50% he “talks”.  He strings words painfully into sentences.  But although he misses or mispronounces some words or syllables,  he, nonetheless,  tells what he sees, what he assumes, what  meaning he construes from the sequence of pictures.  He tells what he thinks.

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1 Comment

  1. Jean

     /  January 26, 2014

    Wow – Robert talking shows multiple skills development!


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