Research - Nonlinguistic Representations

  • Learners acquire and store knowledge in two primary ways: linguistic (by reading or hearing lectures), and nonlinguistic (through visual imagery, kinesthetic or whole-body modes, and so forth). The more students use both systems of representing knowledge, the better they are able to think about and recall what they have learned (Marzano, Pickering, & Pollock, 2001).
  • Visual representations help students recognize how related topics connect (NCTM, 2000).
  • Finding patterns helps students organize their ideas so that they can later recall and apply what they have learned. Research has shown an increase in understanding of geometry when students learn to represent and visualize three-dimensional forms (Bransford et al., 1999; Lehrer & Chazen, 1998).
  • After brainstorming to generate ideas, students can improve their reading, writing, and thinking skills by using thinking maps to help them organize key concepts in a visual way (Hyerle, 1996).
  • Using visual representation software in a science classroom helps students express their developing understanding of core chemistry concepts in the form of visual representations that are readily created and shared. These representations help students generate explanations of the phenomena they are investigating. (Michalchik, V., Rosenquist, A., Kozma, R., Kreikemeier, P., Schank, P., & Coppola, B., in press).

Nonlinguistic Representations (Marzano, Pickering & Pollack, p. 72-83)

  • Help ELLs retain knowledge and demonstrate learning
  • Graphic organizers are used to make content more comprehensible and to represent knowledge

1. Time & sequence

2. Descriptive patterns

3. Process/cause-effect patterns

4. Episode patterns

5. Generalization/principle patterns

6. Concept patterns

  • Use physical models
  • Use symbolic representations
  • Generate mental pictures
  • Drawing pictures and pictographs
  • Engaging in kinesthetic activities

Click here for an excellent research article from Focus on Effectiveness.

Power point presentation on non-linguistic representations: includes rationale and classroom applications.

Non-linguistic Overview (pdf)