Graduates Studies in Visual Literacy in Education
Program chair: Dr. Malka Ben-Pashat
Practical Art Studies coordinator: Prof. Arye Ophir
Steering committee: Dr. Malk Ben-Pashat, Prof. Arye Ophir, Dr. Beni Ben-David, Dr. Michal Popovsky, Dr. Yehudit Spellman
- Visual literacy is the ability to understand and use visual images, including the ability to think, learn and express oneself by means of visual images.
- The purpose of the program is to contribute significantly to development of creative individuals and to enhance their ability to lead change and influence formal as well as informal learning environments.
- The program creates a unique synergy between the students and the different arts.
What is visual literacy?
Visual literacy is the ability to understand and use visual images, including the ability to think, learn and express oneself by means of visual images. The concept was introduced, developed into an approach and established as a discipline in the 1960s by educators in the United States. They increased general awareness of the power of visual literacy in developing learners' cognitive abilities and personality traits, including self-esteem as well as a sense of interest in and belonging to their environment and community. To be visually literate means to be able to manage in the contemporary world, where visual messages are becoming as important as their verbal counterparts.
Now, in the early 21st century, when we are flooded with visual messages of all types in a wide range of media on the Internet, television, and in personal and private spaces, the ability to decode visual expressions and to consider them critically has become an essential skill for teachers in the education system. For them, this skill is a powerful tool of learning and instruction in developing creative, critical and independent thinking.
The importance of visual literacy as a means of expression and communication in human civilization makes it an essential field in the theoretical and applied research of education systems and instructional settings.
Visual literacy is a requirement for anyone who consumes or is exposed to information and knowledge of any type, which is loaded with visual messages, including those in the fields of art, design, film and media, theater and dance. All the more so, of course, for those who teach these subjects.
The Visual Literacy in Education master's degree program enables teachers to develop and improve their ability to decode, create and use visual messages wisely and critically for the purpose of teaching art based on an educational approach that is committed to social and environmental empowerment.
The Unique Character of the Visual Literacy in Education Program
In other places throughout the world, visual literacy is taught in single courses included in academic curricula in art, design, film and media, and training programs for artists, historians and scholars of visual culture. The Visual Literacy in Education graduate program at the Kibbutzim College of Education is the first to incorporate the main themes, theories and issues in the field of visual literacy into a full curriculum designed to meet the needs of teachers in different areas of visual art. Moreover, the students in the program are guided in the application of this knowledge based on an educational approach of social and environmental empowerment.
The program responds to three important needs in the process of improving education and teaching:
1. To further the theoretical knowledge and understanding of aspects of the visual language, develop visual sensitivity and improve the ability to use this language wisely and critically for the purpose of teaching and learning.
2. To deepen familiarity with the possible uses of visual aids for the purpose of teaching and learning in the fields of visual art, improve the skill in using them and encourage original development of such aids.
3. To encourage research-based practice in visual arts and experience in theoretical and applied research that takes the different aspects of visual literacy into account, with the purpose of providing appropriate education for the promotion of social and environmental goals.
The Visual Literacy in Education program is designed to produce graduates who have extensive theoretical and practice knowledge of visual literacy as well as significant professional experience in applied research, teaching and visual art as means to raising the standard of teaching and education in Israel.
Graduates will have developed the ability to upgrade the standard of teaching in the different areas of visual art as well as other fields, by acquiring skills for increasing the level of use and development of visual media, both in their teaching environments and in those of the educational institution in which they work.
Graduates of the program will be able to advance their own positions in post-elementary, informal and academic educational settings by undertaking advisory tasks regarding teaching and curriculum as well as directing the instruction of visual and didactic subjects in these frameworks.