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The Learning Conference 2003

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Presentation Details


Saying, Making and Learning: Language and Other Semiotics in Design

Peter Medway.

Speaking in a group setting is usually seen as communicating. Learning, correspondingly, is seen as an individual process that may result from communication. But both may also be seen as aspects of semiotic making. A research study in an architect’s office revealed, during design, the construction, through linguistic and other semiotic processes, of a semiotic network that brought into existence a new conceptual entity. But may not this also be a description of learning? Semiotic ‘maps’ of the proceedings will be shown, and the distinctive role of words in relation to visual marks examined. Parallels will then be drawn with episodes conventionally more likely to be classified as learning.


Peter Medway  (United Kingdom)
Lecturer in Education
Dept of Education & Professional Studies
King's College London

Peter Medway has worked extensively in the field of literacy and semiotics. With a background in the role of language in education, he has conducted research in Canada and the UK on the demands made by academic and professional disciplines, and particularly architecture, on university students’ language and on the re-learning involved in the transition from university to work. He is co-author of "Worlds Apart: Acting and Writing in Academic and Workplace Contexts" (Erlbaum, 1999).

  • Semiotics
  • Design
  • Learning
  • Cognitive entities

(30 min Conference Paper, English)