No One Taught Them the Rules


New technologies have changed the way information is presented in printed formats. Creating texts with whatever resource, material or electronic, is linked to wider cultural practices and beliefs. Many schools assume that children will ‘pick-up’ the visual literacies needed to read and produce such texts. However, research has shown that children from cultural backgrounds where priority is given to non-visual literacies i.e. story telling, memorizing through hearing, etc., may be disadvantaged if they are not taught the conventions of Western picture making.

A series of hands-on workshops focusing on meaning-making using photographic images, and the
production of multimodal texts (picture/word texts), considerably empowered these children to become active participants, makers and presenters of low and high tech communication, both of which are becoming more image, less text based.

After participating in these workshops the children:

1. Developed observational and critical viewing skills, including multi-perspective interpretation and analysis of visual messages.

2. Learnt the rules for using, manipulating and transforming visual imagery and photographs according to the conventions of Western picture making.

3. Became active producers of visual communication and presented information in multimodal forms.

The virtual poster documents the visual texts of children who participated in these workshops. It illustrates their diverse ways of seeing and the different visual styles they produced.

Learning Outcomes:

By noting the visual resources children prefer to use, by tracking the way they manipulate these resources, and by studying the resulting visual texts, an observer may gain access to the ‘voice’ of the child maker which:

  • provides a pathway to understanding the child’s wider cultural practices and range of literacies

  • reveals if the child can understand and apply the rules of Western visual communication used implicitly in teaching

  • helps design educational activities that encourage visual learning and visual meaning making
  • Presenter:

    Dr. Janet Gino
    Academic consultant and innovator of special learning programs.
    The Neve Yosef Community Center, Haifa, Israel



    More information is available at:



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