Robinson has developed a new teaching method called icono-write

They say every picture tells a story; what if it really tells one — with a story written all over it so much so that art is transformed into knowledge repository, making the total area of a picture informative, with no blank spaces!

J. Robinson, an education innovator and science enthusiast, has developed a new teaching method, icono-write, which he calls a ‘truly global pattern of syllabus.' He holds a Mechanical Diploma in product development and design engineering.

Derived from the term iconography, a branch of art history which studies the identification, description, and the interpretation of the content of images, Mr. Robinson says icono-write is an observational science, in which the written content is converted into image sheets. “For the first time ever we are incorporating this art form into education. This is a product of my research of 12 years,” he claims.

Icono-write is a step-by-step method of learning to read and write. It starts from two-dimensional positive writing method, in which a child learns to draw an image and write inside it. The next stage is two-dimensional negative writing method, in which child is taught to write outside the image boundaries. The last step is a combination of the two, and called the icono-writing method, in which there is written knowledge inside and outside the drawing.

“The aim is to apply a boundary to education — we start within it and then go beyond. Our education system today directly teaches children the fourth dimensional method (writing on ruled sheet) without going through the first three steps,” says Mr. Robinson. Mr. Robinson says students must be encouraged to use colour pens to make learning more enjoyable. “On scanning and compressing, the writing inside an image becomes a solid colour, upon enlarging it is easily readable.”

He divides icono-write into three levels. First is the basic-level, which is a six months course; second is intermediate-level, which is a one-year course; and third is an advanced-level, which is a two-year course.

“Art connected with real life and all skills inherent in a child can be brought out through icono-write. I want to bring back the writing habit,” he opines.

Stating that the scope for creativity is unlimited under the icono-write method, he says it makes learning better, helps in developing interest among students, increases concentration and stimulates self-learning. “In our present day education system, no emphasis is laid on developing curiosity among children. Icono-write tries to bring it back.” Moreover, it generates self-employment opportunities through mere reading and writing. “Anyone can buy a copyright for their work and sell it for royalty.”

It is a more holistic approach to education. Reading, writing, science, and art can be learned simultaneously though icono-write. It is eco-friendly as only three sheets are required to learn. Paper will not get wasted too. “Workbooks can be converted into textbooks for other students, so there is no need of reprinting instruction books every year. The burden of carrying books is also reduced,” says Mr. Robinson.

Two schools run by the Suyam Charitable Trust are the first to incorporate icono-write into their curriculum. The trust had submitted its icono-write-cum-science project to Read Elsewhere and won the first prize. With the prize money, they roped in Mr. Robinson and introduced icono-write in their Siragu Montessori School in Avadi and Bharathamatha Nursery and Primary School in Vyasarpadi. Mr. Robinson has been associated with Suyam for four years now. Uma, founder and managing trustee of Suyam, says, “Separate icono-write classrooms have been dedicated in the schools, where students spend two hours a day. Icono-write can also be used as a remediation therapy for writing disabilities like dysgraphia.”