Journal of Foreign Language Education and Technology

VisualThinking Strategies:Exploring Artworkto ImproveOutputin the L2 Classroom

Abstract

Jill Bomgaars, Jeremy W. Bachelor

The goal of this study was to elicit greater quantity and quality of output in speaking and writing from L2 Spanish students through Visual Thinking Strategies. Previous studies completed in the L1 classroom demonstrate that students exhibitgains when pairing whole-class discussion withwriting, thus inspiring this present study. As such, thirty-two Spanish IV(intermediate) studentsin a rural high school in the United States participated in thisstudythat lasted eight weeks. Control and experimental groups were established to rule out additional variables. Through Visual Thinking Strategies, students in the experimental group discussed authentic artwork on multiple occasions through a teacher-facilitated discussion,followed by individual writingabout the piece of artwork. Results of the study showed statistically significant growthamong the experimental groupin writing through measures of word tokens, word types, word tokens per sentence, and clauses per sentence.Furthermore, very large effect sizes were present.Regarding speaking, data reflect that students in the experimental group greatly outperformed their counterparts in quantity of L2 production as well inwords per utterance. These results suggest that Visual Thinking Strategies may be a worthwhile strategy to incorporate into the L2 classroom as way to facilitate students’growthin these areas.

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