Pieces of us are inadvertently left behind as we grow older. We adapt or semi-adapt to the world’s uniform oneness. Or so we tell ourselves.
I am a visual person.
As a child, I was a visual learner. I suppose this is true for all in childhood, the reason we start with picture books. But I think it went past childhood for me. Even when using text books, I always learned best from diagrams, charts, maps, images — the pictures in my mind immediate and striking.
I was reminded of this when sitting in my son’s classroom recently for the back-to-school meeting — an event filled with the teacher’s learning philosophy, something made abundantly clear in the papers sent home. Still, there I sat in my son’s chair, at his desk, hoping to glean the un-gleanable.
As always, I fell adrift in a daze of formalities until two words snapped me right back: visual learner … visual … learner — a phrase describing a way of study.
Suppressed memories came back alive: the young self with all those picture books. Photographs. Images of every color. And the question: How do visual learners survive those heavy text books in college? Maybe that’s why we move to PowerPoint, diagrams and charts. Not only as a mode of presentation, but for our own benefit. For learning.
And how does a visual learner become a veracious reader? I suppose the mind adjusts and the thirst for imagery is replaced by language in its most beautiful form. Descriptive language.
No wonder, then, Description is my favorite text type. Something the non-visual learner might skim through in a book, I delight in reading. And writing.
Here’s one such Description from Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men, implying the character’s state, in the big picture, but also offering vivid imagery for the mind’s eye:
There is a path through the willows and among the sycamores, a path beaten hard by boys coming down from the ranches to swim in the deep pool, and beaten hard by tramps who come wearily down from the highway in the evening to jungle-up near the water.
Those words, written just so, conjure up a spectacular image, and I am there, with those boys and those tramps on that very path.
And so we adapt, or do we?
Images: thestudyguru.com, forum.xcitefun.net