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close this book Tools for teaching - A visual aids workshop, and instruction manual for health educators
close this folder Session 1. Introduction to the visual aids workshop
close this folder Handout 1.8.1 Making & using visual aids (Supplementary learning materials)
View the document Introduction
View the document 1. Chalkboard
View the document 2. Charts
View the document 3. Diagrams
View the document 4. Flip charts
View the document 5. Flannelboard
View the document 6. Posters
View the document 7. Comic books
View the document 8. Pamphlets
View the document 9. Flyers
View the document 10. Flexiflans
View the document 11. Games
View the document 12. Puppets
View the document 13. Masks
View the document 14. Slide presentations

6. Posters

A poster is a two-dimensional picture sign which can be posted on a wall or other surface. Hence the name "poster". Although posters may sometimes include words, they communicate visually rather than verbally.

Health educators can use posters in a number of different ways to stimulate audience participation and help convey an educational message.



Comparative posters may be used to stimulate discussion about how undesirable situations can be improved or to explore the necessary conditions for good health as opposed to the contributing causes of illness.


For example:


1) Make a pair of comparative posters about 30 cm. x 40 cm. (12" x 16"). On one poster draw a sad, unhealthy family. On the other show a happy, healthy family.

Family portrait


2) Cut out 20-24 cards 7 cm. x 10 cm. (3" x 4"). On half the cards draw pictures of conditions that cause poor health.


bottle-fed baby

unsafe water supply

lack of toilets

unpenned animals

insects and rodents

junk food


someone spitting

child urinating in a stream

uncovered food with flies

On the rest of the cards, draw pictures of good health practices.


breast-fed baby

safe water supply


penned animals

clean, neat house and yard

backyard garden

covered food

balanced diet

fruit and vegetables



3) Glue sandpaper to the backs of both posters and all the cards.

4) Display posters side by side on a flannelboard or tape them to the wall. Shuffle the cards and distribute them randomly amongst the group of participants.

5) Ask participants to look at their cards and decide whether the picture represents a cause of good health or of sickness. Invite them one at a time to place their cards on the flannelboard next to the appropriate poster. Participants should explain to the rest of the group why their picture card represents a good, or bad, health practice.


Another example:


1) Prepare a poster illustrating an unsanitary living environment.

2) Display the poster and ask participants to describe what they see.

3) Give participants a piece of blank poster board and some marking pens. Ask them to draw a poster showing what could be done to make the environment safer and more healthy. If the group is large, divide them into two or three smaller groups and have each group make a poster.

4) When they are finished, participants should display their posters and explain how an unhealthy environment can be improved.

5) Ask the group if any of the conditions shown in the first poster exist in their barangay. What can they realistically do to improve their own living conditions?


One more example:


The Bridge to Health is built between comparative posters drawn by participants. It is a systematic way to analyze problems, set goals, and plan interventions using local resources.

1) You will need to assemble the following materials:

• 2 blank pieces of poster board

• a piece of string 60 cm. (24") long

• a COMMUNITY EFFORT sign, 10 cm. x 30 cm. (4" x 12") folded lengthwise

• several long strips of colored paper, 2 cm. x 60 cm. (1" x 24")

• several numbered cutouts resembling bare feet

• colored marking pens

2) Invite community members to identify situations in their barangay that might be modified to promote better community health.

3) Next to each problem situation on the list, have participants write a community goal for solving the problem. For example, community members may note that very few families have toilets, animals wander freely throughout the barrio, and that some people draw water from unsafe sources.

These, then, are the problems. The goals might be a sufficient number of toilets and pumps to service the needs of the whole community, and fences for the animals.

4) Ask one or two volunteers to draw pictures of the problems on one poster and to illustrate the solution goals on another. Tape the two posters to the wall 45 cm.-60 cm. (18"-24") apart.

5) Discuss how these problems might be solved through community effort. Tape the string to the wall between the PROBLEMS poster and the GOALS poster. Hang the COMMUNITY EFFORT sign on the string. Explain to participants that this represents the handrail and cable for the bridge.

6) Discuss available resources with community members. As each resource is identified, ask a volunteer to write the name of that resource on a colored strip of paper and hang it between the two posters a few inches below the COMMUNITY EFFORT cable. The Bridge to Health will be built with these resources.

7) Ask the group: "Using these resources, what is the first small step you can take to solve the problem and reach your goal?"

When participants decide on a step, write the proposed action on foot #1 and blind-tape it to the wall at the beginning of the bridge in the direction you are going.

8) Continue to discuss a step-by-step plan. Each time a step is agreed upon, write it on the next foot and tape it to the bridge approaching the community goals.

9) Community members can decide to establish a time schedule for the proposed activities and choose the ones they will participate in.

Community Effort



Sequence posters are useful to describe multi-step procedures such as water supply purification, the steps in preparing an herbal medicine, the various stages in a disease progression - in other words, any procedure that takes place according to an established order.

Sequence posters have an advantage over flip charts by enabling the health worker to display the several steps of a procedure at a single time. When participants can see the sequence in its entirety, they are better able to establish the order of, and the connection between, the several steps. The facilitator can also encourage group participation by asking volunteers to place the posters in their proper order, and to explain their reasons for the sequence.

When making sequence posters, be sure to include all the steps in the procedure. Be sure, too, that the visual elements are consistent in scale and style from one poster to the next.



A display poster is one of the most cost-effective ways to send an educational message to the largest possible audience. It can be used to announce an event, provide information, or influence a change in behavior.

Unlike comparative posters and sequence posters which are generally used in conjunction with demonstrations, discussions or other educational activities, a display poster has to stand on its own. There is no opportunity for verbal support.

• A display poster has to be DYNAMIC, COLORFUL, and BOLD to attract attention because it has to compete with many other stimuli in the immediate environment.

• A display poster must have a SHORT, SIMPLE, DIRECT MESSAGE. Display posters do not usually command sustained attention. They have to get the message across in a matter of seconds.

• In a display poster, visual and verbal elements must reinforce one another to communicate a SINGLE, UNIFIED MESSAGE with CLARITY AND IMPACT.


To make a display poster:

1) Write the headline/copy.

• Compose a brief slogan to convey your educational message. Keep it simple. A catchy phrase or a rhymed couplet is often a good way to make a message memorable.

• If the purpose of the poster is to announce an event, include all pertinent information: what it is, where it is, when it is.

2) Select a visual image that reinforces the verbal message. Keep it simple and bold. Use bright colors.

3) Make several thumbnail sketches of your idea illustrating scale, color, placement. Show the sketches to your family, your friends, and your professional colleagues. Ask them to help you select the most effective design.

4) Once the selection has been made, draw the design actual size on a piece of tracing or brown paper. Make any necessary revisions or corrections.

5) Transfer the design to a piece of poster board and complete the finished artwork. If you plan to make multiple copies of the poster, prepare the artwork for reproduction.