A cura di Nicoletta Vasta e Anthony Baldry
Educators from different areas have long been reporting the need for new literacy skills to meet the requirements of the changing semiotic landscape of the 21st century. In particular, exponents from the New Literacy Movement have consistently used the term ‘multiliteracies’ to refer to the competences needed in order to participate actively in today’s emergent forms of new media.
The present volume addresses the need for new forms of pedagogy that empower learners in a world dominated by a multiplicity of discourses, where the textual is closely intertwined with the visual, the spatial, the behavioural and so on. Against this backdrop, the volume also aims to foster learners’ capability to analyse visual and verbal means of communication in a critical discourse perspective that makes explicit how verbal and non-verbal choices privilege certain viewpoints and affect and/or silence alternative constructions of ‘reality’.
The volume presents the results of research carried out within the digital classroom environment and is thus directed to academics, foreign language teachers and educational authorities since it also deals with best practices in teaching. In their presentation of case studies of how − in a learning-by-discovering approach informing a pedagogic model based on collaborative tasks − young people come to reflect on different cultures, and more specifically to express their thoughts about them, the chapters in this volume relate to the empowerment that a critical multimodal framework can bring in sharpening young people’s understanding of the environments, artefacts and life forms that surround them, as expressed in forms of meaning-making that include but transcend printed and digital texts.
Nicoletta Vasta is Full Professor in English Language and Translation at the Dipartimento di Lingue e Letterature, Comunicazione, Formazione e Società (DILL) of the University of Udine. Her current research interests lie in political and advertising discourse analysis, which she carries out in a systemic-functional and critical linguistics perspective, with specific reference to the multimodal construction of identity and ideology.
Anthony Baldry, formerly Full Professor in English Language and Translation at the University of Messina, has described society’s multimodal meaning-making processes in volumes such as Multimodality and Multimediality in the Distance Learning Age (2000), A Multimodal Approach to Text Studies in English (2005), Multimodal Transcription and Text Analysis (2010/2006, with Paul J. Thibault) and Multimodal Web Genres: Exploring Scientific English (2011).