Critical multimodal literacy with moving-image texts

Shin-ying Huang (Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures, National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan)

English Teaching: Practice & Critique

ISSN: 1175-8708

Publication date: 4 September 2017



This paper aims to examine language learners’ critical multimodal literacy practices with a moving-image text, focusing on text comprehension and interpretation rather than text production. It takes a critical perspective towards multimodality and proposes the simultaneous emphasis on critical and multimodal literacies.


This qualitative teacher-inquiry adopts critical multimodal literacy as the framework for understanding learners’ literacy practices. The course implementation highlights images, sounds and words as encompassing the five modes of visual, aural, linguistic, gestural and spatial (Arola et al., 2014) in emphasizing the multimodal in critical multimodal literacy, and the purposeful organization of the images, sounds and words as reflecting the critical in critical multimodal literacy. The analysis also adopts Serafini’s (2010) concentric perceptual, structural and ideological perspectives as the tenets of critical multimodal literacy.


The findings show that focusing on images, sounds, words and their purposeful organization enabled the students to critically examine a moving-image text through considerations for the multiple modes and arriving at the structural and ideological interpretive perspectives.


This study fills a gap in the literature, as very little research has been done to investigate the ways in which language learners engage with, that is, comprehend and interpret, moving-image multimodal texts. In addition, it presents a critical multimodal literacy framework based on Serafini’s (2010) tripartite perspectives and offers pedagogical suggestions for incorporating critical multimodal literacy in language classrooms.



Huang, S. (2017), "Critical multimodal literacy with moving-image texts", English Teaching: Practice & Critique, Vol. 16 No. 2, pp. 194-206.

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