The "Visual Grammar" in School Contexts: A Multimodal-Critical Approach to Teaching Literacy to Primary Education Students

By Efi Papadimitriou, Maria Emmanouilidou and Demetra Makri.

Published by The International Journal of Literacies

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Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: May 26, 2015 $US5.00

The ability to interpret and communicate multimodal meanings necessitates a satisfactory amount of visual literacy and critical thinking skills which are completely ignored by the current educational systems. In this light, we try through the present paper, to implement a multimodal critical approach to teaching literacy to primary education students, using the social semiotic account of meaning-making developed by Kress and van Leeuwen (1996/2006), so as to comprehend how they can utilize various semiotic resources in order to construct representations of the reality which highlight or suppress certain ways of viewing the world. Data analysis provides evidence that the adoption and incorporation of the metalanguage of ‘visual grammar’ in educational practice result in making students both critical thinkers and visually/multimodally literate individuals, since they are able to analyze meanings established by the intermodal synergies between the verbal and visual elements. Furthermore, they reach a degree of competence which enables them to compose and communicate intermodal meanings allowing multiple ‘readings’ by their readers/viewers. Although these findings support the pedagogic exploitation of such emerging ‘grammars’, further investigation is needed in the domain of multimodal representation of ‘discourse’ within the framework of the pedagogy of Multiliteracies.

Keywords: Visual Grammar, Multimodality, multimodal critical Literacy

The International Journal of Literacies, Volume 22, Issue 3, September 2015, pp.29-41. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: May 26, 2015 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 487.326KB)).

Efi Papadimitriou

Assistant Professor, Department of Primary Education, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki, Greece

Maria Emmanouilidou

PhD Candidate, Department of Primary Education, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece

Dr. Demetra Makri

Department of Primary Education, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece