Visual Literacy Resources & Toolkit

Teacher Preparation/Education

If educators are to prepare Generation Z students for the visually rich 21st century job market, they must first prepare themselves. Visual literacy skills must be incorporated into pre-service teacher education as well as integrated into current faculty training programs. New training programs focused on visual literacy skills could help to fill this knowledge gap. Teacher education programs could serve as building blocks by introducing a visual literacy training component into the curriculum (Bleed, 2005).

In a contemporary society dominated by visual media, visual literacy skills are critical. However, visual literacy education still has not yet achieved sufficient recognition in terms of tertiary educational curricula, which continues to be text-based, with occasional ventures into visual art and culture (Jordaan, 2013). In order to shift these text-based curricula, faculty will need training in the pedagogy of visual literacy specific to their disciplines. Educators must adopt a new mindset that is essential in understanding Generation Z learners, as well as insight into how they make meaning of their world (Jordaan, 2013).

One reason that visual literacy training is not required in higher education is that methodology for visual literacy is still in its infancy (Hsin-Te  & Lohr, 2010). The skills that students need to be successful in the job market are being neglected because educators are still unclear about how to teach them. Matusitz suggests that college students gain at least a basic understanding of visual literacy, including how visual communication works, in turn promoting familiarity with signs, symbol, illustrations, diagrams, and graphics they will experience in both textbooks and classroom instruction (as cited in Hsin-Te  & Lohr, 2010, p. 186). Hsin-Te  & Lohr (2010) suggest future research comparing literacy skills of trained versus non-trained pre-service teachers, where participants describe the meaning of an image and suggest ways to improve the image prior to training (p. 195). Participant suggestions could be assessed following visual literacy training to determine improvement in ability, and to suggest the positive effect of visual literacy training (Hsin-Te  & Lohr, 2010).

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