WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT? Using great illustrations vitally captures the attention and imagination of a class. In the face of ever-decreasing attention spans, the use of great illustrations may mean the difference between a learner grasping the point of the lesson or mentally checking out for the duration of the class.
WHAT DO I DO? Here are four ways to find great illustrations:
- Listen to National Public Radio. NPR features many programs with fascinating concepts. NPR hosts websites with links to podcasts, pictures, and transcripts in support of their programming. Many “drive-way moments” when I continued listening after parking have become materials that were repurposed as great illustrations.
- Utilize Google News Alerts. Gmail account users can create news alerts which will notify them any time a specific phrase appears in the Google News aggregator. This is especially useful if your class is studying topics relating to current events.
- Read, Rip, Fling, and File. When reading magazines, tear out or copy articles you need to use later. When you read electronically, copy and paste the contents into a new document and then save in a portable document format. Fling these materials into a pile physically or electronically. File these materials topically or by keywords for later use as great illustrations.
- Use Examples from Movies or Sports. If you can credibly re-create a touching scene from a movie or re-enact an amazing sports feat, you will grab your listener’s attention. Unless prohibited by copyright, showing a clip of the scene will engage your learners.