Journal for Language Teaching

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Change Laboratory Workshop Methodology in Transforming Visual Literacy: A Case of Cartoons in English First Additional Language

Madeyandile Mbelani


In-service teacher development continues to be a challenge of curriculum reform in South Africa. In spite of previous interventions that have been used, visual literacy continues to challenge many inservice teachers. Visual literacy involves the development of competencies that a person needs in order to understand a combination of linguistic, visual, audio, gestural and spatial design elements. This paper proposes that change laboratory workshop methodology can transform in-service teacher development of visual literacy. Change laboratory workshop methodology develops from Cultural Historical Activity Theory’s principles of contradictions and expansive learning, and is used to implement change. This paper uses an illustrative example of a cartoon in English First Additional Language in Grade 11. Data were collected from a change laboratory workshop of nine participants who met for four sessions of two hours each. Lesson video clips and transcript and a cartoon were used for double stimulation and reflexivity. Insights from Cultural Historical Activity Theory and the Newfield Framework were used to analyse this data. The main finding of this intervention is opening of a dialogical space in which participants took initiatives to develop their visual literacy and reconfigure the multi-layers of interpreting cartoons.

Keywords: Visual literacy, Multimodality, cartoons, teacher education, Cultural
Historical Activity Theory, change laboratory workshop
AJOL African Journals Online