‘Living of lyrical moments’: Why aesthetic literacies are important in schools

Year: 2021

Author: Barton, Georgina

Type of paper: Individual Paper

Increasingly people need to communicate through different modes of meaning, not just oral or written language. Image, gesture and sound are all used to send messages to readers or observers of objects or texts. Such meaning is necessary in many professions where the presentation of objects is critical for economic success. Equally so, people live in such a fast-paced society that is rapidly changing (as demonstrated recently through the global pandemic) that time to be mindful and connected to others and the environment is necessary for a healthy life. This theoretically based presentation argues for the inclusion of aesthetic literacies in schools as they are important for both job readiness and wellbeing. Aesthetic literacies involve the capability to read and appreciate the presentation of creative works or pieces involving artistic and/or natural elements, without which students would be at risk of a deficit education, ineffective communication skills, and limited employability skills post-schooling. The presentation will explore three perspectives about the inclusion of aesthetic literacies in schools. The first will explore curriculum expectations and the importance of teaching aesthetic literacies in a range of subject areas. As such, several analysed student samples of work will be shared using three meta-semiotic meanings (Kress & van Leeuwen, 2006) and a Multimodal Composition Assessment Tool (MCAT) (Barton, in press). The second will argue the importance of aesthetic literacies for employees in various vocations and finally, aesthetic literacies will be argued to be vital for continued wellbeing and healthy living. Each section will present in-depth theorisations based on semiotics, multimodality and arts-based reflection.