Another Day, Another Framework

This time, it belongs to Eve Bearne (2009). Bearne has five categories in her framework and a couple of them are familiar:  Image (content, tone, colour, line) and Language (syntax and word choice). To these, she adds Sound/Vocalization, Gaze and Movement. She chooses to show all five elements in action via children’s PowerPoint presentation, storytelling and self-made picture book. The last three categories are, indeed, very important when assessing the impact of a presentation or storytelling. In school, sound/vocalization, gaze and movement are all common criteria that come under Listening and Talking in the Curriculum for Excellence (and in 5-14 before that). Literacy and English covers three areas and they are Reading, Writing and Listening and Talking. These three areas often overlap and naturally merge from one to the other.

The need to see the bigger picture by developing cross-curricular learning is strongly promoted in the Curriculum for Excellence. When learning about PowerPoint, there is an outcome in the ‘ICT to enhance learning’ section of Technologies: I can create, capture and manipulate sounds, text and images to communicate experiences, ideas and information in creative and engaging ways (TCH 1-04b/2-04b). When learning about storytelling, there are several relevant outcomes in Expressive Arts, particularly Drama. Learning is messy and it is often the case that when focusing on teaching one discrete area, other aspects of learning are also reinforced. There are points in the school year when exciting opportunities present themselves (or teachers, with pupils’ help, purposefully construct them) to bring a range of learning together in one creative project.

Bearne touches on the importance of cross-curricular learning when she says, ‘Although the analysis offered here has separated out the elements of image, language, sound, gaze and movement, it is important to see how these different modes interrelate to make meaning.’ Bearne watches and assesses completed projects, projects which would have been put together piece by piece over many days. On each of those days, a different skill would have been highlighted and taught, as Bearne acknowledges. I like Bearne’s framework but in terms of using it in the day-to-day teaching of literacy, I would continue to use the experiences and outcomes of the Curriculum for Excellence. I would then tend to use the same outcomes when assessing. This also provides great flexibility, to choose the outcomes best suited to the teaching, learning and assessment.

Bearne, E. (2009)’Multimodality, literacy and texts: Developing a discourse’ in Journal of Early Childhood Literacy, 9(2) pp. 156-187.

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