A Social Semiotic Approach to Incorporate Multimodal Literacy in the Foreign Language Class

Proceedings of The 6th World Conference on Teaching and Education

Year: 2023



A Social Semiotic Approach to Incorporate Multimodal Literacy in the Foreign Language Class

Dr. Ana Sanchez



This paper examines the benefits of using a social semiotic approach to teach literacy skills in Spanish courses at the University level.  The analysis of students’ multimodal compositions is based on Kress’ “social-semiotic theory interested in meaning, in all its forms’’ (p. 54).  Multimodal pedagogy can be defined as using multi-modes, i.e., textual, aural, linguistic, spatial, and visual, for communication and meaning making (Kress, 2001). In this context, the mode can be defined as from a social perspective, “what counts as a mode is a matter for a community and its social representation needs. What a community decides to regard and use as a mode is mode” (Kress, 2010, p. 87). For this project students used multimodality to write about the advantages and disadvantages of technology in their daily lives.  Even though traditional writing continues to be the norm in language learning and teaching, it is important to consider that multimodal writing has always existed, “Old Egyptian script was based on images, and so still are Chinese and other logographic languages” (Coulmas, 2003). Technology is part of students’ lives, they are involved one way or another with iPhones, iPads, MacBook’s, and iBlog’s on the internet. The YouTube channel has become the main source of knowledge for multiple disciplines.  Multimodal writing pedagogy is also an inclusive way of teaching writing since it offers numerous modes of communication to students with learning challenges who couldn’t fully expressed their ideas and thoughts relying only on the linguistic mode.

keywords: multimodal, writing, Spanish, foreign, language