How to interpret visuals in PSLE English Comprehension Paper 2?

Visual interpretation is a crucial skill that plays a substantial role in the PSLE English Comprehension Paper 2, as mandated by the MOE and SEAB. The importance of this skill is often underscored as it significantly contributes to the holistic comprehension of a given text and the broader PSLE examinations.

Understanding and interpreting visuals require a deep-seated knowledge of not only the language but also the various elements of visual literacy. This includes recognizing symbols, understanding the use of colours and shapes, deciphering body language, facial expressions, and even the directions in which characters are looking or moving. These components can offer a wealth of information that complements the textual content, thus enhancing a student’s understanding of the text.

Examiners are not merely looking for a student’s ability to describe the visuals literally. Instead, they seek evidence of a student’s ability to infer and deduce information from these visuals. This requires an understanding of how visuals relate to the text, how they add to the overall message or theme, and what additional information or insights they provide that aren’t explicitly stated in the text.

For instance, a comprehension passage might be accompanied by an illustration depicting a scene from the passage. A student should be able to relate the characters and their actions in the visual to what’s described in the text, infer emotions or events based on visual cues, and draw conclusions about the underlying themes or messages.

To master visual interpretation, students should practice with a variety of text types and visuals. The diversity of the texts allows students to familiarize themselves with different ways visuals are used to convey information. This practice can range from inferring emotions from a comic strip to understanding the significance of symbols in an infographic.

Tuition can offer targeted support in this area, with experienced educators providing guidance on how to interpret different visuals and apply this understanding in an exam context. Tuition can also offer a structured learning environment where students can practice visual interpretation with immediate feedback and reinforcement of learning.

Furthermore, students should be encouraged to ask themselves questions when encountering visuals: What is happening in the visual? How does it relate to the text? What additional information does it provide? This practice of questioning can foster critical thinking skills, which are invaluable in interpreting visuals and understanding text on a deeper level.

To conclude, interpreting visuals in PSLE English Comprehension Paper 2 requires a blend of language proficiency, critical thinking skills, and visual literacy. As part of the PSLE curriculum, it’s a skill that students should hone for a well-rounded understanding of English comprehension, and to meet the examiners’ expectations of demonstrating a deeper, more nuanced understanding of text.