10 February 2023

Baker, M. J., Pallarès, G., Cedar, T., Brandel N., Bietti, L.M., Schwarz, B. & Détienne, F. (2023). Understanding the moral of the story: Collaborative interpretation of visual narratives. Learning, Culture and Social Interaction, 39, 100700, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.lcsi.2023.100700

Abstract. Fostering moral thinking and cultural literacy are major contemporary concerns in Europe and beyond, as means for young people to co-create social futures. We present a theoretical-methodological approach to understanding students’ moral thinking in the context of collaborative interpretation of visual narratives (“wordless texts”) with ethical implications. Six layers of interpretation are defined, from referential reconstruction of characters’ intentions, through semiotic symbolism, to making the moral of the story explicit in terms of conceptualisations of three key European values (empathy, inclusion and tolerance). Within a case-study approach to analysing computer-mediated dialogues, we show the extent to which students are led to discuss and understand ethical implications of a particular narrative, and how this relates to the quality of collaboration.

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