Using a Social Semiotic Approach to Multimodality: Researching Learning in Schools, Museums and Hospitals.


Bezemer, J and Jewitt, C and Diamantopoulou, S and Kress, G and Mavers, D (2012)

The aim of this working paper is to show how a substantive area of social research –learning– can be investigated using a multimodal social semiotic approach. We apply the approach to three different institutions – a school, a museum and a hospital, illustrating key concepts and addressing issues around pedagogy and technology in contemporary society. A multimodal social semiotic approach focuses on meaning-making, in all modes. It is a theoretical perspective that brings all socially organized resources that people use to make meaning into one descriptive and analytical domain. These resources include modes such as image, writing, gesture, gaze, speech, posture; and media such as screens, 3 D forms of various kinds, books, notes and notebooks. All of these modes and media are also used in environments designed for learning. That makes a multimodal social semiotic approach particularly apt for studying learning.

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