Since 80% of what we learn is processed through our vision, good visual skills are critical to learning. Visual symbols on a page cannot be heard or touched so vision is the only sensory system we are able utilize for reading
Human beings think in pictures or images. No matter what question we ask, if you know the answer it is because an image “pops into your head”. Where is your bicycle? Tell me about your Grandmother’s kitchen? Albert Einstein said “If I can’t picture it, I can’t understand it”. We also think whole-to-part. When looking at a chair we do not first look at the individual parts and then deduce it is a chair. Instead, we recognize the chair as a functional whole and then attend to its parts. Our brains use imagery and we think in meaningful conceptual wholes. Language on the other hand is sequentially structured as a string of parts. Teaching reading, writing and arithmetic is complex in part because of this structural difference between thought and language.
Icon Curriculum Maps (“ICM”) is a system of reorganizing lesson content and delivery from traditional “part to whole” to “whole to part” methodology to better match human thinking. Lessons are organized in non-linear iconic arrays called image maps. Image maps represent the “whole” into which lesson details are linked. Contrast the structure of icon Curriculum Maps methodology with traditional school instructional methods which teach in text symbols (not images), part-to-whole, and in linear outlines. The ICM method of content organization stretches across all subjects and is ideally suited for fast and efficient visual learning.