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Making sense of an everyday science text : linguistic, visual and spatial design

By Dale Minchenton and Beryl Exley

Abstract

In this article, we take a close look at the literacy demands of one task from the ‘Marvellous Micro-organisms Stage 3 Life and Living’ Primary Connections unit (Australian Academy of Science, 2005). One lesson from the unit, ‘Exploring Bread’, (pp 4-8) asks students to ‘use bread labels to locate ingredient information and synthesise understanding of bread ingredients’. We draw upon a framework offered by the New London Group (2000), that of linguistic, visual and spatial design, to consider in more detail three bread wrappers and from there the complex literacies that students need to interrelate to undertake the required task. Our findings are that although bread wrappers are an example of an everyday science text, their linguistic, visual and spatial designs and their interrelationship are not trivial. We conclude by reinforcing the need for teachers of science to also consider how the complex design elements of everyday science texts and their interrelated literacies are made visible through instructional practice. \ud \u

Topics: 130204 English and Literacy Curriculum and Pedagogy (excl. LOTE ESL and TESOL), 130212 Science Technology and Engineering Curriculum and Pedagogy, scientific literacies, visual literacies, visual design, linguistic design, spatial design, bread wrappers
Publisher: AATE\ALEA
Year: 2009
OAI identifier: oai:eprints.qut.edu.au:25942

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