Are you a visual learner? Would you like to learn English visually?
Then read my guide for visual learners and change the way you study English.
I’m listening to my favorite song on the radio while I’m driving. I’ve heard it for a million times. I would sing it as loudly as possible. But I can’t. Because I don’t remember the words. Argh!
I’ve never seen the lyrics written down, so they don’t stick in my head. I know this is a common problem for visual learners. So, I feel a bit better. For the same reason, I don’t remember people’s names, only their faces.
Who are visual learners? How can they learn English visually?
Visual learners learn best through what they see.
They better understand and remember things associated
Not all the features apply to everyone. For example, I suck at reading maps, and I have absolutely no sense of direction. Even when the indications clearly say that I should turn left, I’ll go right.
You might have also heard that there are other types of learners, too.
We all share something with each category, but we are generally predisposed to one specific style.
Sixty-five percent of people are visual creatures.
Source: Social Science Research Network.
That’s a huge number. I’m just wondering who isn’t a visual learner? I think most students study better with visual aids. Images continuously bombard us through computers, TVs, and videos. They are everywhere. Just think of the success of Pinterest, Instagram, and YouTube.
There’s no surprise that all these visual stimuli changed the way we study languages. We don’t use only grammar books or CDs. We have access to tons of visual materials. It’s difficult to know what to choose and how to use it. That’s why I’ve prepared this guide for you. It’ll help you learn English visually.
Step-by-step Guide: How to learn English visually?
1.) Watch educational videos to learn grammar rules.
I know sometimes YouTube doesn’t seem to be that educational, but there are great channels out there for students. English with Lucy is my favorite YouTube channel for English learners.
Photo credit: English with Lucy YouTube Channel
Forget teachers explaining in front of dirty whiteboards in never-ending videos. Lucy Bella Earl’s videos are short, subtitled, and beautifully filmed. Her lessons are unconventional. You might find her sipping a glass of wine or teaching you how to swear in English. But you can also find lessons about British pronunciation, grammar, and slang.
She’s also damn good at other languages, too. Her Spanish is fantastic. Go for her lessons if you want something original and do some self-study.
Don’t wait for others to educate you, educate yourself!
Lucy Bella Earl
2.) Use infographics and mind maps to learn grammar visually.
It’s less boring, and you’ll see the connections more easily.
Ninety percent of information transmitted to the brain is visual, and visuals are processed 60,000 times faster in the brain than text.
Source: 3M Corporation and Zabisco
Where can you find infographics or mind maps?
Pinterest is a visual search engine. Just type in what you need, but be specific. Don’t just type present perfect; type present perfect infographics. And don’t forget to check out my Pinterest account, where I collected all my favorite visual stuff to help you learn English visually.
3.) Save images on Pinterest to learn vocabulary visually.
As I said before, Pinterest is a search engine where you can look for all kinds of visuals—infographics, pictures, and illustrations. The list is endless. It’s not meant for English learners, but with some creativity, you can create your visual dictionary here.
Let’s imagine that you’re studying vocabulary related to kitchen utensils, and you’re struggling to memorize the word “whisk.” Search for “whisk” on Pinterest, and you will see tons of pictures showing not only the object whisk but anything related to it:
Create a board on Pinterest called Kitchen Utensils, and save the whisk images that most inspire you. You might end up reading some chocolate cake recipe or feel the urgent need to buy a kitchen poster. But that’s fine. It will help you to memorize that word once and for all.
Create as many boards as you want related to the word category you’re trying to learn—gardening, health, or fashion.
4.) Read stories on Instagram to improve your reading skills.
Instagram is a visual platform that inspires people through images and words, and visual storytelling is fascinating! Reading posts associated with images is powerful when it comes to learning a language. You’ll remember words and sentences with ease.
People remember 80 percent of what they see but only 20 percent of what they read.
But you need to read real stories, not short posts with a couple of sentences.
Jedidiah Jenkins has conquered me. He’s a storyteller and adventurer.
At the age of 30, he quit his day-job to follow his dream. He went on a 16-month bike trip from Oregon to Patagonia. He did this to collect enough materials to write his first book (To Shake the Sleeping Self), which will come out in 2018.
I like his courage. He didn’t want to wake up one day saying:
Wow, I never chased that dream I wanted to chase….Even if my book ended up being no good, at least I had tried. I could always go back to what I already knew how to do, but I wanted to do something while in my relative youth to get that nagging feeling—that great discontent—out of me.
His Instagram account attracted hundreds of thousands of followers. You’ll find their stunning pictures and long posts. I prefer to call them reflections, not only on Jedidiah’s biking trip but also on life in general.
5.) Watch short films to improve listening.
I love films!
The only problem is that when you’re a language learner, it’s difficult to understand entire films in English. The characters use slang and speak quickly.
And honestly, who has two hours or so to watch movies to improve their English?
That’s why I like short films.
They are around 10 minutes long or less. It’s perfect for you if you don’t have much time to study. You can also start and stop them anytime you want.
They were not produced for English learners, so you’ll learn grammar and vocabulary more naturally.
- Evoke emotions
Films make us laugh, cry, and think about life issues.
They’re perfect for visual learners.
You can find high-quality short films on Vimeo. Especially, look for the Staff Pick Selection. Vimeo’s staff, real people, select the best videos available.
Join our fabulous community of movie lovers and sign up for Short Movie Nights! You’ll get only beautiful short films delivered to your inbox along with some film-inspired lessons.
6.) Copy to improve your writing.
Do you want to be damn good at writing?
Ok, don’t write first! Just copy!
Copy all kinds of texts you like—articles, blog posts, book passages…whatever. Choose the style you need to master. So, for example, if you want to write in an academic style, then copy other clever guys’ academic texts. If you need to write in a conversational style, copy your favorite blog posts.
When you copy and write by hand, you slow down. You start seeing details and connections you’ve never seen before. You internalize words. Your vocabulary and spelling will benefit from it.
Children are good at applying this method. First, they just observe, then copy letters, words, sentences, and then they learn to write.
Adults are always in a hurry. Even when their English is not good enough, they jump into writing something.
No. Give yourself time.
Austin Kleon—“a writer who draws”—insists on the importance of copying.
We learn by copying.…Copying is about reverse-engineering. It’s like a mechanic taking apart a car to see how it works.
His book, Steal Like an Artist, should be on your bookshelf if you want to do something creative in your life.
Step-by-step writing guide for visual English learners.
So, what to do now?
Don’t get crazy trying out all the resources I’ve just listed.
Focus on one skill you need to improve and spend time on it.
Let me know what worked best for you or if you have any other things you’d like to add to my list.
Could you also do me a favor?
If you’ve found this article helpful, could you share it on your favorite social media? It helps me a lot!
Save this blog post. Pin it, and create your own library of learning resources on Pinterest.
Happy Visual Studying.