[A Tale of Three Images]
This musing will serve as a tribute to the JET (Japan Exchange and Teaching) program.
My journey this year has been centred on dyslexic thinking so far. It’s humbling for me to learn how many dyslexic people are visual learners and find it easier to internalise words if they have images as stimuli.
The cogs in my brain started churning furiously one day. During my JET stint, I enjoyed visiting art exhibitions, in which Japanese students showcased their artistic talents. Of particular relevance to this post was how they cleverly included an image within a kanji character. So the character for noodles would be presented as a bowl of noodles, chopsticks included.
There are so many words in the English language, but it was surprisingly easy for me to decide on my first word. First, ‘friend’ is a phonetically irregular word, so we have to memorise it by heart. Secondly, it is mercilessly butchered as ‘fren’ on social media platforms. Thirdly, my colleague used this word as an example of how children can use clunking to remember this word. Fri + end = friend. We hang out with our friends on Friday, the end of the school week. Get it?
With that in mind, I thought it would be good to draw human figures for the letters ‘r’ and ‘i’. Hopefully, having these letters emphasised in the image would help children remember to input the ‘i’ after their ‘r’.
Not being artistically inclined, I thought it would be smart of me to get a dyslexic student to design a poster for ‘friend’. Ideally, I would have preferred facial expressions on his ‘r’ and ‘i’, but that’s on me. I didn’t give proper creative direction.
Anyway, I must say that it was fun to visualise an image within a word. I also feel happy that I transplanted something from the Japanese education system to my work here. Hopefully, my muse would inspire me in the days and weeks to come!