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What is Visual Thinking Strategies (VTS)?*

  • VTS is a teaching method that uses images to foster critical thinking skills, communication skills, social skills and visual literacy. Growth is stimulated by responding to a set of questions while looking at a work of art in a group environment.
  • VTS transforms the way people think. It is about looking and bringing evidence to ones viewpoint, realizing its origin. Engaged by contributing observations and ideas, participants become aware that two or more people may observe the same image but come away with completely different interpretations. As a result viewers gain tolerance and understanding for their fellow human beings appreciating varying points of view, learning that this is not about right or wrong.
  • VTS was developed and refined over the past 30+ years by American cognitive psychologist Abigail Housen and former Director of Education at the Museum of Modern Art in New York Philip Yenawine. The program is based on Housen’s theory of aesthetic development.

Be aware: The success of implementing VISUALIZE depends on the facilitators ability to conduct Visual Thinking Strategies correctly. Therefore a VTS Basis Workshop is recommended before starting the program, see additional resources for further information.

* Cooperation, connection and communication is the hallmark of the Visual Thinking Strategies as developed by Abigail Housen and Philip Yenawine, cofounders of Visual Understanding in Education. Their pioneering work has inspired the development of the Institut für Visuelle Bildung and some parts of worksheets or other materials may include language and information that is courtesy of VTS New York

This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This publication reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

Our Partners

  • Christliches Jugenddorfwerk Deutschlands gemeinnütziger e.V.
  • Institut für Visuelle Bildung
  • Center for Development and Education
  • Best Cybernetics
  • Fundacion Intras