Help learners go beyond what they see 👉 See, Think, Wonder

Thomas Courtley, ex teacher and LessonUp education specialist

Thomas Courtley

Education Specialist

Cover image blog_ Help learners go beyond what they see. See, Think, Wonder

Meaningful images resonate with students, and stimulate engagement and activation, although they tend to jump to conclusions.

When looking at an image we don't always notice its deeper implications. To avoid this, you can try to divide your students' thinking process into clear steps. This will help them get things in focus. Present the same image to your students 3 times, each time with a different question.

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Step 1  👉 See: open-ended question

During the ‘see’ step you ask them: “What do you see?” 

If you are using a digital photo, learners can zoom into the photo to look at it more in detail. They are stimulated to give it all their attention. Most of your students will immediately start labelling what they see, and drawing conclusions. Yet ‘see’ has nothing to do with explaining an image. It is purely about what students see. You are not asking them to interpret it.


Step 2  👉 Think: open-ended question

During the ‘think’ step you ask them: “What do you think?” 

This time you are asking them for their interpretation of the image. They are now free to reply with their many speculations and ideas. Go through their ideas and reactions, and discuss their interpretations. Guide them through their thinking process by asking them ‘why’ they interpret the picture in a certain way. Don’t dive into factual information yet. That's for later.


Step 3  👉 Wonder: open-ended question

During the ‘wonder’ step you ask them: “What are you still wondering?” 

Your students’ curiosity keeps growing as you approach this third step. They will ask all kinds of questions about the picture. Students tend to be very creative with their questions. That can be a great way to ignite interesting classroom discussions. In fact, learning to pose the right questions is also very important for your students. Let them know that you are proud of their curiosity and efforts. At the end make sure you reveal the story concealed behind the image, or guide your students towards it.