Contemporary education can no longer afford to bypass the actual (r)evolution of communication which strongly involves multimodality. Messages produced on a daily basis are becoming more and more multimodal, but language classes, at least in the French world, continue to rely on traditional conceptions and forms of literacy. At the core of this much-needed change of practices are images (visual modes) and their semiotic value that weight a lot more than learners and their teachers usually think into the global comprehension of multimodal messages. In our classroom-based study, subjects were asked to define and compare the different ways they use to create meaning while they read traditional (monomodal) texts VS multimodal texts such as coloured or black & white bandes dessinées (graphic novels / still images) and coloured or black & white movies (mobile images). Preliminary findings from individual inquiries and focus groups revealed that young learners seem to be able to spontaneously decrypt explicit visual representations. However, they also requested explicit instruction of image analysis in order to deepen their understanding of implicit visual meanings and enhance their mobilization of inference and mental imagery, for instance. In the end a fundamental question arises: how our understanding of students’ global comprehension of multitexts should help us to champion formal teaching of visual expression and communication in the language classroom?
|Keywords:||Image Comprehension, Multitext, Multimodal Message, Teaching, Learning, Visual Mode, Semiotics, Focus Group, Multimodality, Multimodal Literacy, Visual Literacy|
Professor of Applied Linguistics, Department of Education, University of Quebec (Lévis /UQAR), Lévis, Quebec, Canada
Professor of Applied Linguistics, Department of Education, University of Quebec (Trois-Rivières), Trois-Rivières, Quebec, Canada
Retired Professor of Applied Linguistics, Department of Applied Linguistics, University of Quebec (Montréal), Montréal, Quebec, Canada
Graduate Student, Department of Education, University of Quebec (Lévis Campus), Saguenay, Quebec, Canada