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Disciplinary Affordance vs Pedagogical Affordance: Teaching the Multimodal Discourse of University Science
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Mathematics and Science Education. Uppsala University, Sweden.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-3244-2586
2017 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The natural sciences have been extremely successful in modeling some specific aspects of the world around us. This success is in no small part due to the creation of generally accepted, paradigmatic ways of representing the world through a range of semiotic resources. The discourse of science is of necessity multimodal (see for example Lemke, 1998) and it is therefore important for undergraduate science students to learn to master this multimodal discourse (Airey & Linder, 2009). In this paper, I approach the teaching of multimodal science discourse via the concept of affordance. Since its introduction by Gibson (1979) the concept of affordance has been debated 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 Fredlund, 2015 for a recent example). Here, Kress et al (2001) have claimed that different modes have different specialized affordances. In the presentation the interrelated concepts of disciplinary affordance and pedagogical affordance will be presented. Both concepts make a radical break with the views of both Gibson and Norman in that rather than focusing on the perception of an individual, they refer to the disciplinary community as a whole. Disciplinary affordance is "the agreed meaning making functions that a semiotic resource fulfills for a disciplinary community". Similarly, pedagogical affordance is "the aptness of a semiotic resource for the teaching and learning of some particular educational content" (Airey, 2015). As such, in a teaching situation the question of whether these affordances are inherent or perceived becomes moot. Rather, the issue is the process through which students come to use semiotic resources in a way that is accepted within the discipline. In this characterization then, learning can be framed in terms of coming to perceive and leverage the disciplinary affordances of semiotic resources. In this paper, I will discuss: the disciplinary affordances of individual semiotic resources, how these affordances can be made “visible” to students and how the disciplinary affordances of semiotic resources are ultimately leveraged and coordinated in order to make science meanings.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2017.
Keywords [en]
Disciplinary affordance, Pedagogical affordance, Undergraduate physics
National Category
Didactics Other Physics Topics
Research subject
Physics with specialization in Physics Education
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-167203OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-167203DiVA, id: diva2:1298263
Conference
6th New Zealand Discourse Conference 2017, AUT, Auckland, New Zealand, 6 - 9 December, 2017
Available from: 2019-03-22 Created: 2019-03-22 Last updated: 2019-03-27Bibliographically approved

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