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Visual Aids in Teaching

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Describe how the visual aids can help in teaching languages? The aids that help in teaching languages and that can be seen are called ‘visual aids’. They provide practical solutions to the problems of a language teacher whose equipment, as a rule, consists of nothing more than books and classroom. They include black-board, chart maps, pictures, flannel-boards, film strips, slides, epidiascope and actual objects that facilitate the process of teaching. The function of each of these in helping the teaching process is discussed below. BLACK-BOARD: A big strong piece of wood, called black-board, is the oldest associate of the teacher but an essential teaching aid. It is used to reading and writing to the pupil. Anything to which the teacher wants to draw the attention of the pupil, is written on it, e.g. difficult words, phrase patterns, structure patterns, grammar works, questions to test comprehension.

In this way the teacher finds his lessons more interesting, lively and effective. It is an important means of picture composition. CHARTS AND MAPS: Since all diagrams cannot be drawn on black-board, they need to be made on charts. A good number of sentences illustrating some points can be written on the chart with some diagrams. Besides sentence chart, we may have substitution table charts and vocabulary charts. Different colors should be used to bring in variety, decoration and effect. It should be big enough to accommodate the necessary materials with words written in bold letters. Charts are very useful for presenting and practicing structures, vocabulary items and compositions. Maps may be used for displaying the location of places, mountains, rivers, etc. PICTURES: Pictures comprise text pictures and class pictures. Text pictures are to be found in the texts designed primarily for beginners. The meaning of a single word can be shown in different pictures. For example, the very first lesson of the beginner’s text may have different patterns of heads of persons and animals to teach the word head.

Class pictures may be sub-divided into picture cards and wall pictures. Picture cards or post cards are extremely helpful in language teaching. They may be captioned or uncaptioned in front or on reverse side. Wall pictures include maps, posters, photographs, etc. They may be used in place of things such as clouds, sea, mountain, sky, etc., which cannot be brought into the classroom. They are excellent in practice for oral composition and question and answer drill. Pictures have great importance in the sense that what cannot be described by words, can bedescribed through them.

FLANNEL BOARD: It is a piece of wooden board covered with flannel to stick on some  stiff and sanded strips of paper. It is used where there is the need of presenting things in small pieces on very quick rearrangement of smaller units. The advantages of this aid are that items can be prepared beforehand, can be moved about on the flannel and preserved for use on further occasions. FILMS: Film, which is yet another visual aid, may be supplied for language teaching in the form of fixed film strips or slides and motion picture films. The former can be used to convey meaning to teach reading on aids in oral and written composition. The advantages of slides and film strips are that they direct the attention of the whole class to the screen and to the pictures and words on it. Film strips and slides free the teacher

from the reality of the situation, leaving the teacher free to control the class. Film strips can depict not only those situations which the teacher can present in the class but also many of these which he cannot. A situation of film strip can be shown over and over again. Motion pictures are not only visual aids, but if designed, they may be the chief means of presenting both meaning and form of the language. They can do what the film strips do and more. They can teach students in a short time because of the high degree of attention which they compel through movement and isolation of contact. Gestures, looks and movements of lips may help the viewer to interpret what is said. Motion pictures are even able to communicate emotional experience and thus they are superior to film strips. They can show any situation which can and cannot be demonstrated in the classroom.

However, it is to be noted that if language teaching by films are to be successful, visual aids have to be designed especially to teaching at a specific level for films, which merely present a teacher in action, are less effective than a good teacher. Thus we have seen that visual aids play a very vital role in language teaching. The main function of visual teaching material is semantic. It permits the learner to understand what he hears, to learn the situation in which language forms are used and to associate his learning through repetition and limitation. AUDIO AIDS: Aids that can be heard. They include radio, gramophone records and tape recorder. AUDIO-VISUAL AIDS: Aids that can be both heard and seen.

They include television and films. Advantages of audio-visual aids 1. It helps the pupil in understanding languages by bringing him in direct contact with objects and things, by bringing the distant things near, by bringing the world into the classroom. They help the student in understanding different cultural backgrounds. 2. Audio-visual aids promote remembering by involving the many senses of the learners, by arousing their curiosity, by making use of pictorial content and by providing variety in teaching. 3. They make teaching effective by creating situations for presentation and practice of language items and by reducing dependence on the mother tongue. 4. They help in formation of language habits by drill, repetition and constant practice. 5. They increase the pupil’s experience of language by providing rich variety and better quality. 6 They promote teacher’s efficiency by saving time and energy. 7 They provide recreation to the learners.

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