What might it mean to center adult language learners in their learning? In this issue of Site Specific: The Journal of Visual Thinking Strategies, Amsterdam-based Nanja Ruiter reflects on her experiences using Visual Thinking Strategies to support her adult students of Dutch as a second language. I appreciate the view into Ruiter’s classroom that I have through the careful documentation of VTS discussions she shares in her essay “VTS Discussions Can Support (Functional) Illiterate Second-Language Learners.”
Ruiter makes many choices as an educator to create opportunities for student growth and cultivate community. Ruiter uses a constructivist teaching practice where her students speak Dutch freely and learn from their peers as well as their own mistakes. She also carefully selects images for discussion that honor the cultural heritage and experiences of her adult learners and also take into account Abigail Housen’s research that informs VTS.
I find myself inspired by Ruiter’s essay to continue to reflect on how to best center learners as an educator. I hope you enjoy reading about her work as much as I have.
I would also like to take this time to share gratitude for the contributions of my colleague Madison Brookshire to Site Specific: The Journal of Visual Thinking Strategies. As founding editor of the journal, Brookshire supported many authors including myself in their writing processes to create the best versions of the essays they wanted to write about their teaching practices. I had the honor and pleasure to join Brookshire on the editorial team and we worked together as co-editors of Site Specific for two years. I learned so much form him and appreciate the vision we shared for an online arts and education journal that inspires readers and informs practice; encourages authors; and reflects the environment of Visual Thinking Strategies itself. Brookshire continues to do excellent work as an artist and educator in Los Angeles.
Special thanks to Lupe Limón Corrales and Amy Chase Gulden, peer reviewers for this edition; and Madison Brookshire, former co-editor.
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