Teaching Critical Literacy through Print Advertisements: An Intervention with 6th Grade Students (Ages 11-12)

By Dimitrios Babalioutas and Maria Papadopoulou.

Published by The Learner Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

The paper presents a small scale action research conducted and implemented in a Primary School in a Greek city with 6th Grade Students (11-12 years old). Sixteen children participated in the program, which aimed at promoting children’s critical understanding of print ads. The procedure included pre & post test questionnaire with open-ended questions and a teaching intervention planned on the basis of the framework of analyzing images from a social semiotic aspect suggested by Kress & van Leeuwen (1996) and verbal text analysis. The pedagogic approach followed the principle of fading scaffolding, including gradual guidance activities of critical deconstructing of print ads as well as exemplary presentations of manners of analyzing images in a communicative and collaborative way. The results showed increased critical involvement with the multimodal advertising text, better understanding of the purposeful construction of the advertising message, and more critical reading and questioning of it. There are also indications of children’s attitudinal change towards advertised products, namely foods and drinks. Although the teaching intervention was one of a small scale, whose results cannot be generalized, there are serious indications that a teaching approach of this kind can bring about very encouraging and fruitful results in the future.

Keywords: Critical Literacy, Social Semiotics, Print Ads, Multimodal Texts, Multiliteracies

The International Journal of Learning, Volume 14, Issue 7, pp.119-128. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.086MB).

Dimitrios Babalioutas

Schoolteacher, 33rd Public Primary School of Larissa, Larissa, Greece

My name is Dimitrios Babalioutas and I live in Larissa, a city in Thessaly(Central Greece). My occupation is Schoolteacher in Primary Schools. I have graduated from the Pedagogical Academy of Larissa in November 1983 and I have been working in classrooms since 1986. During the years of my career as a schoolteacher I have participated in many seminars concerning various domains of educational knowledge such as Environmental Education, Dyslexia and other Learning Difficulties, Informatics and Computing, The use of Informatics in daily learning process, Language and its teaching and many others. For the past nine years, I’ ve been teaching at the 33rd Public Primary School of Larissa. Currently, I am a post graduate of Master Programme of Thessaly University in Volos city, titled “Modern Learning Environments-Educational Material Generating”. I am interested in everything regarding the learning process and its advance and facilitation as well as in the educational research which can lead to better approaches and effects than currently happens.

Dr. Maria Papadopoulou

Assistant Professor, University of Thessaly, Volos, Greece

Dr Maria Papadopoulou served as a researcher for European Programs on Literacy and Language Teaching and as a second language teacher in Greek secondary Education. As member of several teams, she developed educational material (textbooks and software) for mother tongue and second/foreign languages learning. Her current research interests focus on multimodal texts analysis, production and evaluation of teaching material and young children’s understanding of verbal and visual texts.

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