Craig Armstrong

Kumamoto Health Science University, Kumamoto University


M.Ed. (Applied Linguistics) Canadian, part-time teacher at five universities in Kumamoto City, permanent resident of Japan, three-time recipient of the Kumamoto University School of Material Engineering Teaching Award


Teacher Development Amplification through Simplification: Blackboard illustrations and their effect on vocabulary retention more

Sat, Jul 9, 16:25-16:50 Asia/Tokyo

Humorous blackboard sketches were used to kindle interest among university students in subject matter, and an attempt at quantification of their effect was made in this study. Students attending similar lessons, differentiated by the use or non-use of illustrations, were afterwards surveyed to measure retention. Positive data results, foreshadowed by higher levels of engagement among students when sketches were used, suggest that students’ recall of key vocabulary was enhanced by using depictions which complemented a descriptive telling. Such drawings – little more than stick figures – may have moved students more quickly through the initial steps (observing, perception, and interpreting) of the cognitive learning process and into meaning construction. Amplification of a message through simplification agrees with Grice’s Cooperative Principle maxims in that such drawings be no more and no less informative than the explanation demands, they are relevant, and they avoid obscurity. An orderly and timely presentation of information demanded by Grice’s fourth maxim, done with care and in good taste, obviates the need for any artistic talent whatsoever on the part of the instructor. Furthermore, they contribute to an agreeable epistemic environment where students’ affective response is high, and pleasure, motivation, and low anxiety are the norm.

Craig Armstrong