The discourse of modalities in science and history classrooms

Min Pyng Chen, Libo Guo, Peter Freebody, John Hedberg

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference proceeding contributionpeer-review


    This paper reports on a strand of the Digital Curricular Literacies (DCL) project. This strand focuses on the nature of classroom interactions in lower secondary Science and History. We draw on the work of Jewitt and Kress (2003) to document the use of multimodalities in classroom activity. Data collection was based on the coding of classroom activities, audio-recording of classroom lessons and the collection of artefacts from each topic assessment. The data corpus discussed in this paper is selected transcripts from pre- and post-intervention observations that demonstrate how teachers use a variety of modalities to teach Science and History subjects. It was found that in Science, while there exist opportunities to present the ideas in multiple modalities (such as pictures and real objects, realia), these are used only occasionally. Rather, lessons are characterised by the use of textbooks and teacher talk. History, by contrast, afforded the creation and use of graphic organizers, as well as a simulated game show on one occasion. Jewitt and Kress (2003) is taken as a model for multimodal analysis, drawing first on the mode and meaning established in the lessons, and secondly on how these modes are orchestrated to make meanings with each other. We also analyse the discourse through which these multimodal meanings are presented. It is concluded that the way in which these multimodalities are presented is dependent on individual teachers’ treatment and the classes to which these lessons are delivered.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationRedesigning pedagogy
    Subtitle of host publicationresearch, policy, practice : papers
    Place of PublicationSingapore
    PublisherNational Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University
    Number of pages10
    Publication statusPublished - 2005
    EventRedesigning pedagogy : research, policy, practice - Singapore
    Duration: 30 May 20051 Jun 2005


    ConferenceRedesigning pedagogy : research, policy, practice


    Dive into the research topics of 'The discourse of modalities in science and history classrooms'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this