A framework for developing preschoolers’ critical viewing of multimodal texts in formal educational settings: The case of commercial videos

Sophia Goria

Punctum, 5(1): 45-66, 2019
DOI: 10.18680/hss.2019.0005


Over the last years new communication contexts have reshaped print-based literacy pedagogy into a multimodal one. The changing nature of literacy is also reflected in the new curriculum for early childhood education, however without clearly articulating how this shift will be implemented in educational settings. Consequently, teachers are not familiar with ways to promote students’ multimodal competencies and are not trained to develop instructional plans aligned with multimodal pedagogies. The article discusses an on-going exploratory research aimed to provide insight into teaching multimodal literacy in Early Childhood Education. Specifically, it focuses on formulating learning experiences in order to enhance preschoolers’ critical viewing competencies concerning the intentions and meaning strategies employed by commercial video producers. The research included a framework of teaching multimodal texts, such as commercial videos, based on previous frameworks found in literature reviews. Specific learning experiences with commercial videos were designed and implemented in a Greek Kindergarten with twelve students. These learning experiences were organized in several units. Each unit included the spontaneous engagement of students with various commercial videos, the guided analysis of the structural features and typical functions of the videos as well as the guided ‘reading’ of literal and inferential meaning in them based on the explicit teaching of both meaning strategies employed by video resources and a metalanguage for justified interpretations and detailed descriptions of students’ responses drawn from textual evidence. In the current article, this particular teaching framework is presented in detail as an integrated part of the research project – which is briefly discussed as well – for the implementation of multimodality in teaching practices in early childhood settings and the enhancement of preschoolers’ literacy skills. Also, the constraints and further issues of both the research project and the teaching framework are being discussed.

KEYWORDS: multimodal literacy; teaching intervention; critical viewing; T.V. commercial advertisements; early-childhood education
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