The Use of Posters in Education

Nelson Mandela claimed that "Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world". And he was absolutely right. A good education is the thing, which costs much efforts and often much money, but the results of which can be astonishing.

The degree plays not such an important role here. The key element of the education is knowledge and sometimes it's really hard to get it.

Besides knowledge of some subjects, the education helps us to build our opinions and have our own points of view on different things. It doesn't only give us lessons, according to textbooks or the established programs, but provides us with the lessons of life.

Many educational establishments and teachers work at the ways of making this process of getting knowledge easier and facilitate learning.

Many programs, systems and approaches have already been created. In this article, we would like to discuss one of the elements of the modern education, used by many teachers.

It's the use of posters during the educational process. Lets' consider the advantages of using them in the education, how and where they can be used and how to use them effectively.

Advantages of using posters as a visual aid in the learning process are the following:

  • It's an effective way to catch and hold the attention of pupils or students as well as maintain their interest in the subject.
  • Posters can motivate students to learn a specific topic.
  • They can help learners to focus on a certain idea, fact, event or process.
  • They are convenient both for pupils and teachers as they help students to absorb the material faster.
  • Images are more “evocative” than words and can lay the foundation of a variety of associations.
  • 65% of people worldwide find learning most effective when it is transmitted visually and a poster is one of the best ways to do that.
  • By having a poster in the classroom, you induce the students to constant learning, even if they just look around the classroom.

    However, if you are a good teacher, you can't just take any illustration in the necessary theme and present it to your pupils. The success and the effectiveness of its usage depend upon the proper selection and correct utilization of this graphic element.

    Here are some rules:

    • The specific educational aim must be always taken into account while choosing and using a certain visual element.
    • A good poster should have the following features:
      1. simplicity (its message must be understood at a mere glimpse of it);
      2. brevity (it needs to contain minimum of words, which are effectively presented);
      3. appropriateness (the theme of the image should correspond to the subject matter);
      4. attractiveness (it is necessary to capture the attention);
      5. design and color (a poster should be appropriate in its size, design and color: it should contain bright colors, be rather large so that everyone can see it).
    • A teacher should do his or her best to help the students to pick up the message given by a particular poster and carry it in their thoughts.
    • While choosing a poster, a teacher also needs think about the age of his or her pupils. It's pointless to use complicated schemes for boys and girls of 6. They will absorb the material faster if there are more bright pictures. In their turn, posters with childish pictures will be badly received by the high school students.
    • It's also important that a poster inspire and motivate a pupil to learn more.
    • A logical structure is crucial for an educational poster. It must have a logical sequence from the top to bottom so that your pupils won't get confused.
    • Don’t use unnecessary images. The most important is the information.

    Now, let's see in what kinds of classes posters can be used and consider the examples of their usage.


    There are so many things to learn in maths, including various formulae, theorems and axioms. Why not make them visual? First of all, you save your time and can afford not to write down everything on the blackboard as all the important things can be present at the poster. Secondly, it will be more interesting for your students to watch at colorful pictures than at the blackboard, full of different formulae written with white chalk. Mathematics isn't a very easy science. That's why, in order to arouse pupils' interest (especially of the juniors) in the subject, the use of appropriate maths posters will be a great way out. For example, if you use such a bright multiplication table, you will surely gain more attention to it than to the ordinary black&white one.

    Multiplication Table

    A Bright Multiplication Table


    Physics classes are almost impossible without any graphic materials. Visualization in physics is extremely important. Though the books are full of different images, posters, depicting the main principles and laws, can turn out to be more effective and informative as they are always in front of the students, who need only one glance at them to recollect the necessary information. For example, the Archimedes' principle can be understood sooner, if the image, demonstrating how the force equal to the weight of the fluid buoys up the immersed object.

    Archimedes principle

    Archimedes' principle. The buoyant force acting on an object is equal to the weight of the displaced fluid


    One will hardly find a chemistry class, where there is no periodic table of elements. It's a fact that the chemistry lessons are impossible without it as it helps both students and teachers. It also looks very colorful and is a good decoration for a class. However, the periodic table isn't the only possible thing, which can serve both for decoration and the learning process. The chemistry posters can also depict chemical compounds, molecular structures of objects and many other things. For example, when you have a lesson, dedicated to vitamins, you can use posters with the images of the structural chemical formulae and models of them.

    Chemical Formula and Model of Vitamin B12

    Structural chemical formula and model of vitamin B12 - cyanocobalamin


    When we talk about geography, the first thing that comes to our mind is, of course, a map. There are so many variants of maps nowadays, that all of them will take too much space in a class. It's recommended not to attach maps to the walls too strongly so that you are able to change them while having different themes of lessons. However, the geographical and political maps of the world and of your country are considered to be classic and you are free to have them in your class permanently.

    The Political World Map

    Colored political world map with names of countries, oceans


    English or any other language lesson is also a class, which will be much more interesting if some images are used. Firstly, the use of pictures while learning the vocabulary raises the level of memorization. It's a proven fact that all students, not only children, learn the words faster if the objects are visualized. Secondly, the main grammar rules can also be depicted on posters in order not only to be visualized but also to minimize the use of incorrect language during the lesson. Thirdly, some teachers use motivating pictures about the importance of being literate. It's believed that they stimulate the pupils for being more interested in the subject. And fourthly, if it's a class of a foreign language, the images of flags, maps, symbols and sights of the country are frequently used. Thus, the students don't only learn language but find out more about the country itself. For example, one of the symbols of Spain is flamenco. Why not use a beautiful poster with a girl, dancing flamenco, in your Spanish class?

    A Flamenco Dancer

    A Flamenco Dancer


    Literature classes usually include two types of posters: either portraits of authors or their quotes. However, if you are a creative teacher, of course, you can invent something new and make your class the unique one. Here is the example of how a quote may be arranged.

    A Quote by Shakespeare

    To be, or not be, that is the question - text on a slate blackboard against red barn wood


    The most frequently used images for history lessons are, of course, the portraits of famous historical figures. While studying history, it's important to imagine what those people look like. In addition, historical classes may be decorated with the pictures or photos, dedicated to certain historical events or important dates. A poster dedicated to the Independence Day can be a good illustration of this.

    A Poster Dedicated to the 4th of July

    A Poster Dedicated to the 4th of July


    Just like physics and chemistry, biology lessons always include graphic materials. If you deal with little children and want to make biology lessons interactive, you can use some funny biological posters. However, while choosing them, take care that they are informative as well, not only entertaining. Here is one of the examples: a funny tooth illustration.

    A Tooth Anatomy

    A Tooth Anatomy


    Health promotion posters are more frequently used at hospitals and clinics than at schools, colleges or universities. However, as many teachers try to fight for the healthy way of life and want their students to live long and happily, they try to influence the young generation. That's why such a subject was added to different educational programs. Health classes usually use motivating pictures, which inspire people to take care of their health. It's also quite widespread to use the images, depicting the consequences of bad habits. The image, showing the difference between lungs of a non-smoker and a smoker, will sure have an impact on everyone who looks at it.

    The Lungs of a Non-Smoker and a Smoker

    The Lungs of a Non-Smoker and a Smoker

    Physical Education

    Many people believe that physical education classes must only have the sports equipment and that's all. However, there are some teachers, who don't only want to teach their pupils but also motivate them. That's why they also use various images, connected with different kinds of sports, wholesome exercises and the healthy way of life.

    Kinds of Sports

    Kinds of Sports


    The variety of illustrations, used for art classes, is abundant. The image of every art object can become a decoration for an art class. It's wonderful if you have enough space to place the examples of all the art genres and techniques. It's also possible to find a poster, which contains all of them.

    An Abstract Painting

    An Abstract Painting


    The most efficient way to study astronomy is to see everything with your own eyes. Unfortunately, we have no opportunities to do this and have to be satisfied with different pictures. While studying astronomy, the image of the Solar system is the basic one. Only after your students discover how everything is located in cosmos, you are free to use more detailed posters.

    The Solar System Image

    The Solar System Image


    Economics is one of the subjects, where not only a teacher but also pupils are free to bring posters. As to the teacher, everything is clear. He or she uses illustrations to deliver the necessary information to the pupils. In their turn, students can use posters, or even create them themselves, during their presentations or projects. In most cases, economics graphic materials show various diagrams or tables.

    The Economical Project Mind Map

    The Economical Project Mind Map


    Though sociology lessons don't demand the presence of pictures and photos, your students will be rather intrigued if you try to use them. There are still some notions and information in this discipline, which can be presented in the form of a poster. One of the good examples is the Maslow pyramid, showing the hierarchy of human needs.

    The Maslow Pyramid of Human Needs

    The Maslow Pyramid of Human Needs

    As you see, posters can be employed at almost every lesson (of course, this list isn't complete and many other subjects can be added). The most important is to use them correctly.

    To sum up everything, it can be stated that a poster is a very good way to summarize a message, you want to deliver. It requires careful thought and preparation from you so that it has the desirable effect. However, you should remember that there are also other things, which help to teach and learn. Don't focus only on pictures. Combine different types of teaching to reach more effectiveness. Make your lessons diverse and really entertaining.

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