The Press Briefing as an ESP Educational Microworld An Example of Social Semiotics and Multimodal Analysis

By Anastasia Christodoulou and George Damaskinidis

This paper explores the concept of the educational microworld as an interactive learning environment. Using as a case study a computer-based language activity, titled Operational Update, in the area of teaching English for Specific Purposes, we demonstrate how an intersemiotic PowerPoint slide show could become an educational microworld in a specific professional context, the military. This language activity was based on a series of NATO press briefings held during the Kosovo conflict in 1999. In order to investigate this microworld as a literacy event, we use a framework that combines social semiotics and multimodality. By analyzing each semiotic element as an independent meaning-making resource and examining how all modes are jointly used, we investigate the ways the stakeholders of this microworld use social resources for communicating meanings. We conclude by proposing an extension of this microworld in the areas of teaching English as a foreign language and intercultural communication.