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Fredlund, T., Linder, C. & Airey, J. (2015). A social semiotic approach to identifying critical aspects. International Journal for Lesson and Learning Studies, 4(3), 302-316
Open this publication in new window or tab >>A social semiotic approach to identifying critical aspects
2015 (English)In: International Journal for Lesson and Learning Studies, ISSN 2046-8253, E-ISSN 2046-8261, Vol. 4, no 3, p. 302-316Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Purpose

This article proposes a social semiotic approach to analysing objects of learning in terms of their critical aspects.

Design/methodology/approach

The design for this article focuses on how the semiotic resources – including language, equations, and diagrams – that are commonly used in physics teaching realise the critical aspects of a common physics object of learning. A social semiotic approach to the analysis of a canonical text extract from optics is presented to illustrate how critical aspects can be identified. 

Findings

Implications for university teaching and learning of physics stemming from this social semiotic approach are suggested.

Originality/value

Hitherto under-explored similarities between the Variation Theory of Learning, which underpins learning studies, and a social semiotic approach to meaning-making are identified. These similarities are used to propose a new, potentially very powerful approach to identifying critical aspects of objects of learning.

References:

Airey, J. and Linder, C. (2009), “A disciplinary discourse perspective on university science learning: achieving fluency in a critical constellation of modes”, Journal of Research in Science Teaching, Vol. 46 No. 1, pp. 27-49.

Bernhard, J. (2010), “Insightful learning in the laboratory: some experiences from 10 years of designing and using conceptual labs”, European Journal of Engineering Education, Vol. 35 No. 3, pp. 271-287.

Booth, S. (1997), “On phenomenography, learning and teaching”, Higher Education Research & Development, Vol. 16 No. 2, pp. 135-158. 

Booth, S. and Hultén, M. (2003), “Opening dimensions of variation: an empirical study of learning in a web-based discussion”, Instructional Science, Vol. 31 Nos 1/2, 65-86.

Chandler, D. (2007), Semiotics: The Basics, Routledge, New York, NY. Clerk-Maxwell, J.C. (1871), “Remarks on the mathematical classification of physical quantities”, Proceedings London Math. Soc., London, pp. 224-233.

Cope, C. (2000), “Educationally critical aspects of the experience of learning about the concept of an information system”, PhD thesis, La Trobe University, Bundoora.

Einstein, A. (1936), “Physics and reality”, Journal of the Franklin Institute, Vol. 221 No. 3, pp. 349-382.

Feynman, R.P., Leighton, R.P. and Sands, M. (1963), The Feynman Lectures on Physics, Vol. I, Perseus Books, Reading, available at: www.feynmanlectures.caltech.edu, (accessed 9 March 2015).

Fredlund, T., Airey, J. and Linder, C. (2012), “Exploring the role of physics representations: an illustrative example from students sharing knowledge about refraction”, Eur. J. Phys., Vol. 33 No. 3, pp. 657-666.

Fredlund, T., Airey, J. and Linder, C. (2015), “Enhancing the possibilities for learning: variation of disciplinary-relevant aspects in physics representations”, Eur. J. Phys, Vol. 36, 055001.

Fredlund, T., Linder, C., Airey, J. and Linder, A. (2014), “Unpacking physics representations: towards an appreciation of disciplinary affordance”, Phys. Rev. ST Phys. Educ. Res., Vol. 10, 020129.

Gurwitsch, A. (1964), The Field of Consciousness, Vol. 2, Duquesne University Press, Pittsburgh, PA. Halliday, M.A.K. (1978), Language as Social Semiotic, Edward Arnold, London.

Halliday, M.A.K. (1993), “On the language of physical science”, in Halliday, M.A.K. and Martin, J.R. (Eds), Writing Science: Literacy and Discursive Power, The Falmer Press, London, pp. 59-75.

Halliday, M.A.K. (1998), “Things and relations: regrammaticising experience as technical knowledge”, in Martin, J.R. and Veel, R. (Eds), Reading Science: Critical and Functional Perspectives on Discourses of Science, Routledge, London, pp. 185-236.

Halliday, M.A.K. (2004a), “The grammatical construction of scientific knowledge: the framing of the English clause”, in Webster, J.J. (Ed.), Collected Works of M.A.K. Halliday: The Language of Science, Vol. 5, Continuum, London, pp. 102-134.

Halliday, M.A.K. (2004b), “Language and the reshaping of human experience”, in Webster, J.J. (Ed.), Collected Works of M.A.K. Halliday: The Language of Science, Vol. 5, Continuum, London, pp. 7-23.

Halliday, M.A.K. and Matthiessen, C.M.I.M. (1999), Construing Experience Through Meaning, Cassell, New York, NY.

Halliday, M.A.K. and Matthiessen, C.M.I.M. (2004), An Introduction to Functional Grammar, Hodder Education, London.

Hodge, R. and Kress, G. (1988), Social Semiotics, Cornell University Press, New York, NY.

Ingerman, Å., Linder, C. and Marshall, D. (2009), “The learners’ experience of variation: following students’ threads of learning physics in computer simulation sessions”, Instructional Science, Vol. 37 No. 3, pp. 273-292.

Kress, G. (1997), Before Writing: Rethinking the Paths to Literacy, Routledge, London.

Kress, G. (2010), Multimodality: A Social Semiotic Approach to Contemporary Communication, Routledge, London.

Kress, G. and Van Leeuwen, T. (2006), Reading Images: The Grammar of Visual Design, Routledge, New York, NY. 

Kryjevskaia, M., Stetzer, M.R. and Heron, P.R.L. (2012), “Student understanding of wave behavior at a boundary: the relationships among wavelength, propagation speed, and frequency”, Am. J. Phys., Vol. 80 No. 4, pp. 339-347.

Lemke, J.L. (1983), “Thematic analysis, systems, structures, and strategies”, Semiotic Inquiry, Vol. 3 No. 2, pp. 159-187.

Lemke, J.L. (1990), Talking Science, Ablex Publishing, Norwood, NJ. Lemke, J.L. (1998), “Multiplying meaning: visual and verbal semiotics in scientific text”, in Martin, J.R. and Veel, R. (Eds), Reading Science: Critical and Functional Perspectives on Discourses of Science, Routledge, London, pp. 87-114.

Lemke, J.L. (2003), “Mathematics in the middle: measure, picture, gesture, sign and word”, in Anderson M., Saenz-Ludlow A., Zellweger S. and Cifarelli V. (Eds), Educational Perspectives on Mathematics as Semiosis: From Thinking to Interpreting to Knowing, Legas, Ottawa, pp. 215-234.

Linder, C., Fraser, D. and Pang, M.F. (2006), “Using a variation approach to enhance physics learning in a college classroom”, The Physics Teacher, Vol. 44 No. 9, pp. 589-592.

Lo, M.L. (2012), Variation Theory and the Improvement of Teaching and Learning, Göteborgs Universitet, Gothenburg.

Lo, M.L. and Marton, F. (2011), “Towards a science of the art of teaching: using variation theory as a guiding principle of pedagogical design”, International Journal for Lesson and Learning Studies, Vol. 1 No. 1, pp. 7-22.

Mahoney, M.S. (1994), The Mathematical Career of Pierre de Fermat, 1601-1665, Princeton University Press, Princeton, MA.

Marton, F. (2006), “Sameness and difference in transfer”, The Journal of the Learning Sciences, Vol. 15 No. 4, pp. 499-535.

Marton, F. (2015), Necessary Conditions of Learning, Routledge, New York, NY.

Marton, F. and Booth, S. (1997), Learning and Awareness, Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Mahwah, NJ.

Marton, F. and Pang, M.F. (2013), “Meanings are acquired from experiencing differences against a background of sameness, rather than from experiencing sameness against a background of difference: putting a conjecture to the test by embedding it in a pedagogical tool”, Frontline Learning Research, Vol. 1 No. 1, pp. 24-41.

Marton, F. and Tsui, A.B.M. (2004), Classroom Discourse and the Space of Learning, Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, London.

Marton, F., Runesson, U. and Tsui, A.B.M. (2004), “The space of learning”, in Marton, F. and Tsui, A.B.M. (Eds), Classroom Discourse and the Space of Learning, Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, London, pp. 3-40.

New London Group (1996), “A pedagogy of multiliteracies: designing social futures”, Harvard Educational Review, Vol. 66 No. 1, pp. 60-93. Norris, S.P. and Phillips, L.M. (2003), “How literacy in its fundamental sense is central to scientific literacy”, Science Education, Vol. 87 No. 2, pp. 224-240.

O’Halloran, K.L. (2005), Mathematical Discourse: Language, Symbolism and Visual Images, Continuum, London.

Pang, M.F. and Marton, F. (2013), “Interaction between the learners’ initial grasp of the object of learning and the learning resource orded”, Instructional Science, Vol. 41 No. 6, pp. 1065-1082.

Van Leeuwen, T. (2005), Introducing Social Semiotics, Routledge, New York, NY.

Warrell, D. A. (1994), “Sea snake bites in the Asia-Pacific region”, in Gopalakrishnakone, P. (Ed.), Sea Snake Toxinology, Singapore University Press, Singapore, pp. 1-36. 

Wignell, P., Martin, J.R. and Eggins, S. (1993), “The discourse of geography: ordering and explaining the experiential world”, in Halliday, M.A.K. and Martin, J.R. (Eds), Writing Science: Literacy and Discursive Power, The Falmer Press, London, pp. 151-183.

Wood, K. (2013), “A design for teacher education based on a systematic framework of variation to link teaching with learners’ ways of experiencing the object of learning”, International Journal for Lesson and Learning Studies, Vol. 2 No. 1, pp. 56-71.

Young, H.D. and Freedman, R.A. (2004), University Physics with Modern Physics, Pearson, San Francisco, CA.

Keywords
Learning study, Variation Theory of Learning, social semiotics, objects of learning, disciplinary-relevant aspects, critical aspects, teaching practice, physics education
National Category
Other Physics Topics
Research subject
Physics with specialization in Physics Education
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-28844 (URN)10.1108/IJLLS-01-2015-0005 (DOI)
Available from: 2015-03-23 Created: 2018-12-17Bibliographically approved
Fredlund, T., Airey, J. & Linder, C. (2015). Enhancing the possibilities for learning: Variation of disciplinary-relevant aspects in physics representations. European journal of physics, 36(5), Article ID 055001.
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Enhancing the possibilities for learning: Variation of disciplinary-relevant aspects in physics representations
2015 (English)In: European journal of physics, ISSN 0143-0807, E-ISSN 1361-6404, Vol. 36, no 5, article id 055001Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In this theoretical article we propose three factors that can enhance the possibilities for learning physics from representations, namely: (1) the identification of disciplinary-relevant aspects for a particular disciplinary task, such as solving a physics problem or explaining a phenomenon, (2) the selection of appropriate representations that showcase these disciplinary-relevant aspects, and (3) the creation of variation within the selected representations to help students notice these disciplinary-relevant aspects and the ways in which they are related to each other. An illustration of how these three factors can guide teachers in their efforts to promote physics learning is presented.

Keywords
Disciplinary-relevant aspects, representations, Variation Theory of Learning, physics education
National Category
Other Physics Topics
Research subject
Physics with specialization in Physics Education
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-28839 (URN)10.1088/0143-0807/36/5/055001 (DOI)000359609100001 ()
Funder
Swedish Research Council
Available from: 2015-03-23 Created: 2018-12-17 Last updated: 2018-12-20Bibliographically approved
Fredlund, T., Linder, C. & Airey, J. (2015). Towards addressing transient learning challenges in undergraduate physics: An example from electrostatics. European journal of physics, 36(5), Article ID 055002.
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Towards addressing transient learning challenges in undergraduate physics: An example from electrostatics
2015 (English)In: European journal of physics, ISSN 0143-0807, E-ISSN 1361-6404, Vol. 36, no 5, article id 055002Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In this article we characterize transient learning challenges as learning challenges that arise out of teaching situations rather than conflicts with prior knowledge. We propose that these learning challenges can be identified by paying careful attention to the representations that students produce. Once a transient learning challenge has been identified, teachers can create interventions to address it. By illustration, we argue that an appropriate way to design such interventions is to create variation around the disciplinary-relevant aspects associated with the transient learning challenge.

Keywords
Transient learning challenges, representations, electric potential, electric potential energy, the Variation Theory of Learning
National Category
Other Physics Topics
Research subject
Physics with specialization in Physics Education
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-28848 (URN)10.1088/0143-0807/36/5/055002 (DOI)000359609100002 ()
Funder
Swedish Research Council
Available from: 2015-03-23 Created: 2018-12-17 Last updated: 2018-12-20Bibliographically approved
Airey, J., Eriksson, U., Fredlund, T. & Linder, C. (2014). On the Disciplinary Affordances of Semiotic Resources. In: IACS-2014 Book of abstracts: . Paper presented at The First Conference of the International Association for Cognitive Semiotics, Lund, Sweden, 25-27 Sept 2014 (pp. 54-55).
Open this publication in new window or tab >>On the Disciplinary Affordances of Semiotic Resources
2014 (English)In: IACS-2014 Book of abstracts, 2014, p. 54-55Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

In the late 70’s Gibson (1979) introduced the concept of affordance. Initially framed around the needs of an organism in its environment, over the years the term has been appropriated and debated at length by a number of researchers in various fields. Most famous, perhaps is the disagreement between Gibson and Norman (1988) about whether affordances are inherent properties of objects or are only present when they are perceived by an organism. More recently, affordance has been drawn on in the educational arena, particularly with respect to multimodality (see Linder (2013) for a recent example). Here, Kress et al. (2001) have claimed that different modes have different specialized affordances. Then, building on this idea, Airey and Linder (2009) suggested that there is a critical constellation of modes that students need to achieve fluency in before they can experience a concept in an appropriate disciplinary manner. Later, Airey (2009) nuanced this claim, shifting the focus from the modes themselves to a critical constellation of semiotic resources, thus acknowledging that different semiotic resources within a mode often have different affordances (e.g. two or more diagrams may form the critical constellation).

In this theoretical paper the concept of disciplinary affordance (Fredlund et al., 2012) is suggested as a useful analytical tool for use in education. The concept makes a radical break with the views of both Gibson and Norman in that rather than focusing on the discernment of one individual, it refers to the disciplinary community as a whole. Put simply, the disciplinary affordances of a given semiotic resource are determined by those functions that the resource is expected to fulfil by the disciplinary community. Disciplinary affordances have thus been negotiated and developed within the discipline over time. As such, the question of whether these affordances are inherent or discerned becomes moot. Rather, from an educational perspective the issue is whether the meaning that a semiotic resource affords to an individual matches the disciplinary affordance assigned by the community. The power of the term for educational work is that learning can now be framed as coming to discern the disciplinary affordances of semiotic resources.

In this paper we will briefly discuss the history of the term affordance, define the term disciplinary affordance and illustrate its usefulness in a number of educational settings.

Keywords
Affordances, Disciplinary affordance, Undergraduate Physics, Semiotics
National Category
Other Physics Topics Didactics General Language Studies and Linguistics
Research subject
Physics with specialization in Physics Education
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-28829 (URN)
Conference
The First Conference of the International Association for Cognitive Semiotics, Lund, Sweden, 25-27 Sept 2014
Funder
Swedish Research Council
Available from: 2018-12-17 Created: 2018-12-17 Last updated: 2018-12-17Bibliographically approved
Airey, J., Eriksson, U., Fredlund, T. & Linder, C. (2014). The Concept of Disciplinary Affordance. In: : . Paper presented at The 5th International 360 Conference, Encompassing the multimodality of knowledge, May 8-10 2014, Aarhus University, Denmark.
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The Concept of Disciplinary Affordance
2014 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation only (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Since its introduction by Gibson (1979) the concept of affordance has been discussed at length by a number of researchers. Most famous, perhaps is the disagreement between Gibson and Norman (1988) about whether affordances are inherent properties of objects or are only present when perceived by an organism. More recently, affordance has been drawn on in the educational arena, particularly with respect to multimodality (see Linder (2013) for a recent example). Here, Kress et al (2001) claim that different modes have different specialized affordances.

 

In this theoretical paper the concept of disciplinary affordance (Fredlund et al., 2012) is suggested as a useful analytical educational tool. The concept makes a radical break with the views of both Gibson and Norman in that rather than focusing on the perception of an individual, it focuses on the disciplinary community as a whole. Put simply, the disciplinary affordances of a given semiotic resource are determined by the functions that it is expected to fulfil for the discipline. As such, the question of whether these affordances are inherent or perceived becomes moot. Rather, the issue is what a semiotic resource affords to an individual and whether this matches the disciplinary affordance. The power of the term is that learning can now be framed as coming to perceive the disciplinary affordances of semiotic resources.

 

In this paper we will discuss the history of the term affordance, define the term disciplinary affordance and illustrate its usefulness in a number of educational settings.

 

References

Airey, J. (2009). Science, Language and Literacy. Case Studies of Learning in Swedish University Physics. Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis. Uppsala Dissertations from the Faculty of Science and Technology 81. Uppsala  Retrieved 2009-04-27, from http://publications.uu.se/theses/abstract.xsql?dbid=9547

Fredlund, T., Airey, J., & Linder, C. (2012). Exploring the role of physics representations: an illustrative example from students sharing knowledge about refraction. European Journal of Physics, 33, 657-666.

Gibson, J. J. (1979). The theory of affordances The Ecological Approach to Visual Perception (pp. 127-143). Boston: Houghton Miffin.

Kress, G., Jewitt, C., Ogborn, J., & Tsatsarelis, C. (2001). Multimodal teaching and learning: The rhetorics of the science classroom. London: Continuum.

Linder, C. (2013). Disciplinary discourse, representation, and appresentation in the teaching and learning of science. European Journal of Science and Mathematics Education, 1(2), 43-49.

Norman, D. A. (1988). The psychology of everyday things. New York: Basic Books.

 

 

Keywords
Disciplinary affordance, learning, semiotics, science education
National Category
Didactics
Research subject
Physics with specialization in Physics Education
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-28830 (URN)
Conference
The 5th International 360 Conference, Encompassing the multimodality of knowledge, May 8-10 2014, Aarhus University, Denmark
Funder
Swedish Research Council
Available from: 2018-12-17 Created: 2018-12-17 Last updated: 2018-12-17Bibliographically approved
Fredlund, T., Airey, J. & Linder, C. (2013). Att välja lämpliga semiotiska resurser. In: E. Lundqvist, R. Säljö & L. Östman (Ed.), Scientific literacy: teori och praktik (pp. 59-70). Malmö: Gleerups Utbildning AB
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Att välja lämpliga semiotiska resurser
2013 (Swedish)In: Scientific literacy: teori och praktik / [ed] E. Lundqvist, R. Säljö & L. Östman, Malmö: Gleerups Utbildning AB, 2013, p. 59-70Chapter in book (Refereed)
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Malmö: Gleerups Utbildning AB, 2013
National Category
Other Physics Topics
Research subject
Physics with specialization in Physics Education
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-28836 (URN)978-91-40-68443-1 (ISBN)
Funder
Swedish Research Council
Available from: 2013-12-03 Created: 2018-12-17 Last updated: 2018-12-20Bibliographically approved
Fredlund, T., Linder, C. & Airey, J. (2012). A case study of the role of representations in enabling and constraining the sharing of physics knowledge in peer discussions. In: : . Paper presented at 1st World Conference on Physics Education, Istanbul, Turkey, 1-6 July 2012.
Open this publication in new window or tab >>A case study of the role of representations in enabling and constraining the sharing of physics knowledge in peer discussions
2012 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation only (Refereed)
National Category
Other Physics Topics
Research subject
Physics with specialization in Physics Education
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-28843 (URN)
Conference
1st World Conference on Physics Education, Istanbul, Turkey, 1-6 July 2012
Funder
Swedish Research Council
Available from: 2012-12-06 Created: 2018-12-17Bibliographically approved
Fredlund, T., Airey, J. & Linder, C. (2012). Choosing appropriate resources: investigating students’ scientific literacy. In: ECER 2012: . Paper presented at ECER (European Conference on Educational Research), September 18-21, 2012, Cadiz, Spain. , Article ID 18275.
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Choosing appropriate resources: investigating students’ scientific literacy
2012 (English)In: ECER 2012, 2012, article id 18275Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Refereed)
National Category
Other Physics Topics
Research subject
Physics with specialization in Physics Education
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-28837 (URN)
Conference
ECER (European Conference on Educational Research), September 18-21, 2012, Cadiz, Spain
Funder
Swedish Research Council
Available from: 2012-12-06 Created: 2018-12-17Bibliographically approved
Fredlund, T., Airey, J. & Linder, C. (2012). Critical aspects of scientific phenomena -- to the fore, in the background, or not present in scientific representations. In: : . Paper presented at EARLI Special Interest Group on Comprehension of Text and Graphics Conference, Pierre-Mendès-France University, Grenoble, 29-31 August 2012.
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Critical aspects of scientific phenomena -- to the fore, in the background, or not present in scientific representations
2012 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation only (Refereed)
National Category
Other Physics Topics
Research subject
Physics with specialization in Physics Education
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-28838 (URN)
Conference
EARLI Special Interest Group on Comprehension of Text and Graphics Conference, Pierre-Mendès-France University, Grenoble, 29-31 August 2012
Funder
Swedish Research Council
Available from: 2012-12-06 Created: 2018-12-17Bibliographically approved
Fredlund, T., Airey, J. & Linder, C. (2012). Exploring the role of physics representations: an illustrative example from students sharing knowledge about refraction. European journal of physics, 33(3), 657-666
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Exploring the role of physics representations: an illustrative example from students sharing knowledge about refraction
2012 (English)In: European journal of physics, ISSN 0143-0807, E-ISSN 1361-6404, Vol. 33, no 3, p. 657-666Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Research has shown that interactive engagement enhances student learning outcomes. A growing body of research suggests that the representations we use in physics are important in such learning environments. In this paper we draw on a number of sources in the literature to explore the role of representations in interactive engagement in physics. In particular we are interested in the potential for sharing disciplinary knowledge inherent in so-called persistent representations (such as equations, diagrams and graphs), which we use in physics. We use selected extracts from a case study, where a group of senior undergraduate physics students are asked to explain the phenomenon of refraction, to illustrate implications for interactive engagement. In this study the ray diagram that was initially introduced by the students did not appear to sufficiently support their interactive engagement. However, the introduction of a wavefront diagram quickly led their discussion to an agreed conclusion. From our analysis we conclude that in interactive engagement it is important to choose appropriate persistent representations to coordinate the use of other representations such as speech and gestures. Pedagogical implications and future research are proposed.

National Category
Physical Sciences
Research subject
Physics with specialization in Physics Education
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-28840 (URN)10.1088/0143-0807/33/3/657 (DOI)000303039600022 ()
Funder
Swedish Research Council
Available from: 2018-12-17 Created: 2018-12-17 Last updated: 2018-12-20Bibliographically approved
Organisations
Identifiers
ORCID iD: ORCID iD iconorcid.org/0000-0003-3244-2586

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