Meaning-making in a secondary science classroom

A systemic functional multimodal discourse analysis

Q. He, Gail Forey

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

3 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The purpose of this chapter is to present a framework for examining meaning-making in the science classroom through a range of resources. Based on the notion of social semiotics from systemic functional linguistics, we propose a framework that examines the affordances of meaning in one mode, such as language, or gesture, or animation, and the multiplying of meaning across these modes. We argue that knowing what meaning can be afforded by a mode and the ways to communicate meaning across modes can enhance learning opportunities in the science classroom. We focus on three modes used in the science classroom, namely language, gesture, and animation, and propose a framework that helps unpack the meanings made. We draw on data collected from a 66-minute video recording of a Grade 9 class studying the process of digestion. We investigate the organization of meaning in the identified modes and the multiplying of meaning across modes in constructing explanations. While gestures and animation are found to make meaning through the logics of time and space, language plays a significant role in mediating the technicality of scientific knowledge. The findings also identified two ways of multiplying meaning across modes, namely, creating multimodal links and reiterating organizing structures. The complex mediation of meaning within each mode and across modes highlights the need for explicit instruction by the teacher to support and highlight how meaning is made in science and other teaching and learning contexts. We suggest that the findings are relevant for apprenticing learners into the world of science, and also apprenticing scientists into the world of teaching.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationGlobal Developments in Literacy Research for Science Education
EditorsK. S. Tang, K. Danielsson
Place of PublicationNew York, U. S. A.
PublisherSpringer
Pages183-202
Number of pages20
ISBN (Electronic)9783319691978
ISBN (Print)9783319691961
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 17 Jan 2018

Keywords

  • Constructing explanations
  • Multimodal discourse analysis
  • Semiotic affordances
  • Systemic functional linguistics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)

Cite this

He, Q., & Forey, G. (2018). Meaning-making in a secondary science classroom: A systemic functional multimodal discourse analysis. In K. S. Tang, & K. Danielsson (Eds.), Global Developments in Literacy Research for Science Education (pp. 183-202). New York, U. S. A.: Springer. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-69197-8_12

Meaning-making in a secondary science classroom : A systemic functional multimodal discourse analysis. / He, Q.; Forey, Gail.

Global Developments in Literacy Research for Science Education. ed. / K. S. Tang; K. Danielsson. New York, U. S. A. : Springer, 2018. p. 183-202.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

He, Q & Forey, G 2018, Meaning-making in a secondary science classroom: A systemic functional multimodal discourse analysis. in KS Tang & K Danielsson (eds), Global Developments in Literacy Research for Science Education. Springer, New York, U. S. A., pp. 183-202. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-69197-8_12
He Q, Forey G. Meaning-making in a secondary science classroom: A systemic functional multimodal discourse analysis. In Tang KS, Danielsson K, editors, Global Developments in Literacy Research for Science Education. New York, U. S. A.: Springer. 2018. p. 183-202 https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-69197-8_12
He, Q. ; Forey, Gail. / Meaning-making in a secondary science classroom : A systemic functional multimodal discourse analysis. Global Developments in Literacy Research for Science Education. editor / K. S. Tang ; K. Danielsson. New York, U. S. A. : Springer, 2018. pp. 183-202
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