Semiotics as a Modern Trend in Teaching
نشر في 11 ديسمبر 2018 .
أ. سلام محمود الأستاذ أستاذة جامعية وباحثة، فلسطين
In the age of informational, technological and communicational acceleration, science has become the great power that affects all human life aspects. So, the society which has the reins of science is, undoubtedly, the strongest one, the matter requires its members to be on a high level of understanding of science and its requirements.
With regard to education, modern educational trends call for the need to reconsider curricula and academic educational programs which adopt blooms' cognitive levels as a learning and teaching pillar, and they support the transfer toward the development of contents and educational dimensions that suit the scientific acceleration ( Al-Ostaz, 2005: p.17). Furthermore, trends emphasize on the need to develop the context through curriculum depending on a certain rule i.e. curriculum isn't taught for its own sake, but rather it is a mean to achieve deeper goals such as: methods of thinking, life dimensions, future visions…etc. (Qaddafi, 1996: p.97).
In this context, semiotics has emerged as a contemporary teaching approach that is compatible with new trends in education. Semiotics comes from the Greek word "semeiotikos" which means to be observant of signs. It was first known to be used in 1880 (Eco,1986: p 18), and it means the openness of what is absent in light of what is present and going beyond a text to capture the explicit, implicit, hidden and deep semantic relations of signs in the text (Al-Ostaz, 2014). Historically speaking, semiotics has been created by the representatives of a narrow circle of scientific disciplines, first of all, of logic, mathematics, and linguistics. Positivism, in the forms of pragmatism, utilitarianism, behaviorism, etc., was shared by the fathers of semiotics as a common world-view. The pretensions of semiotics to be a universal key lay in the main-stream of the evolution of Western science which has forced out the quality by the quantity, immediate seeing by interpretation of things, losing its ability of clear vision and proudly ousting it by the short-sighted dogmas of positive knowledge. Science is of great public benefit (Gorny, 1995).
The concept of modern semiotics was presented by its founders Priece and Suassure, Peirce’s conception of the sign is triadic (Sign/Representamen, Object, Interpretant) and Saussure’s is dyadic (Signifier – Signified) (Semetsky, 2010: p.5). Semiotics and education are research fields with mutual interests and overlaps. Semiotics is useful to education in two respects: First, it can be crucial for a better grasp and exploration of education practices, which may lead to better, deeper and more meaningful practices; second, it can inform deeper ways of researching education as a field for which signs and sign processes are needed (Tochon, 2013: p. 13).
Talking about semiotics as a teaching method, Al –Ostaz (2013 ) presented semiotics as a teaching method. He mentioned that semiotics as a teaching method involves six steps represented by the acronym "IRASAP" and they can be followed when explaining any lesson. These steps are:
1. Text identification: the teacher helps the students to identify the lesson whether it is a picture, writing, voice, caricature,…..etc, and they identify what is the lesson about.
2. Text recognition: the teacher asks the students to read the text and to identify the major idea.
3. Text absorption: at this stage, the students will understand the text as a whole and they should identify the minor ideas.
4. Text saturation: the teacher discusses the lesson with students, and he asks them to identify the signs included in the lesson which called " cognitive units".
5. Text assimilation: at this stage, the students completely understand the lesson and they can identify the signifier and the signified for each sign.
6. Text perspicacity: at this stage, the students will be more creative and they can provide more creative inferences according to their perspectives.
It is worth saying that semiotics as a teaching method provides a new and interesting atmosphere for students to learn, helps students to express their own perspectives, helps students to generate new ideas which means to increase their creativity and to enrich their language.
Al-Ostaz, M. (2005). Evaluation of Palestinian Science Curricula From Creative Perspective. The second educational conference, Faculty of education, Islamic university, Gaza, from November 22 to 23.
Al-Ostaz, M. (2013 A). Semiotics as a Proposed Teaching Strategy in the Text Perspicacity. A Study Day for the Department of Curricula and Teaching Methods, Faculty of Education at Al- Aqsa university on 15th April 2013, Gaza.
Al-Ostaz, S. (2014). "The Effectiveness of a Suggested Program on Developing Pre- Service English Language Teachers' Awareness of the Semiotic Approach at Al-Aqsa University". Unpublished Master Thesis. Al-Azhar University, Palestine.
Al-Qaddafi, R. (1996). Patronage of Gifted and Innovators. Tripoli: Modern University .
Eco, U. (1978). A Theory of Semiotics. Bloomington: Indian university press.
Gorny, E. (1995).what is Semiotics?. Creator Journal, Vol.3, No.3, pp. 1-2, London.
Semetsky, I. (2010). Semiotics Education Experience. Australia: sense publishers.
Tochon, F. V. (2013). Signs and Symbols in Education: Educational Semiotics. USA: Deep University Press.