The ontogenesis of multiliteracies in textbooks : multimodal analysis of english language teaching textbooks of different grades

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The ontogenesis of multiliteracies in textbooks : multimodal analysis of english language teaching textbooks of different grades


Author: Guo, Songdan
Title: The ontogenesis of multiliteracies in textbooks : multimodal analysis of english language teaching textbooks of different grades
Degree: Ph.D.
Year: 2015
Subject: Modality (Linguistics)
English language -- Textbooks.
Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
Department: Dept. of English
Pages: xix, 324 pages : illustrations (some color)
Language: English
InnoPac Record:
Abstract: This thesis is concerned with modelling the processes of meaning making. The central goal is to explore the expansion of meaning potential constructed by both linguistic resources and visual images in English Language Teaching (ELT) textbooks used in Hong Kong primary and secondary schools. The exploration is based on systemic-functional theory and draws on insights from educational linguistics. Through empirical analysis of all the verbal texts and visual images included in thirteen ELT textbooks, this thesis explicates the ontogenetic expansion of the meaning potential as it is progressively constructed in successive textbooks. Chapter 1 provides an overview of the theoretical and contextual backgrounds. Motivated by functional linguistic approaches to language development this thesis adopts an ontogenetic perspective to investigate textbooks as language learning materials during schooling, aiming to provide a systematic modelling of meaning construction in textbooks. The contextual motivation of this thesis stems from the recent academic reform in Hong Kong. As a consequence of this reform, the Education Bureau now stresses that students experience a smooth transition as they progress from grade to grade. Whether the current English textbooks support or impede the smooth transition is addressed in this study. Chapters 2 to 4 set out the foundations of the current study. Chapter 2 reviews relevant issues on textbooks studies. In particular, the historical development of textbook design underlying the historical development of language teaching approaches is introduced. Chapter 2 also reviews the previous studies on textbook analysis. Chapter 3 outlines different approaches to explore the ontogenetic expansion of the meaning potentials of learners, especially the functional linguistic approaches underpinning the current thesis. In Chapter 4, I elucidate the main theoretical foundations of the thesis, which include the systemic functional model of language and the stratified relations between context, discourse and language. Chapters 5 to 7 present the main theoretical frameworks and analyses of verbal texts and visual images extracted from the textbooks. Chapter 5 introduces the contextual background and the research design. In Chapter 6, I investigate the expansion of meaning potential as constructed by verbal texts in the textbooks. Chapter 7 presents the meaning construction of visual images. Chapter 8 further extends this thesis from learning materials for primary and secondary levels to include learning materials for the tertiary level by outlining a pilot study on college textbooks. In Chapter 9 I conclude by summarizing the major findings of the research and its contribution to both language education and the exploration of meaning construction. Chapter 9 also discusses the limitations of the current study and the possible directions of further study. The research is significant in both the theoretical and practical spheres: on the one hand, it serves as the starting point for future studies exploring multilingual meaning potential from an ontogenetic perspective, and on the other hand it maps out the systematic modelling of meaning potential constructed in language learning materials during schooling, providing insights for curriculum development and material design in English as a second or foreign language (ESL/EFL) context.

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