Multimodality and the Semiotic Bundle Lens: A Constructive Resonance with the Theory of Objectification

Cristina Sabena


The paper situates mathematics teaching-learning processes within a multimodal perspective and discusses a semiotic approach apt to seize this dimension, namely the Semiotic Bundle lens. This analytical tool considers the great variety of semiotic resources through which mathematical meanings emerge and evolve in the classroom, ranging from embodied ones such as gestures, to symbolic systems. In particular, the analysis considers them in a systemic and dynamic way. The theoretical account is illustrated by means of an example on children spatial conceptualization, carried out in kindergarten. The data analysis will constitute a background against which the connections with the Theory of Objectification will be highlighted, showing a constructive resonance between the two theories.

La multimodalidad y el lente Semiotic Bundle: una resonancia constructiva con la teoría de la objetividad

El artículo sitúa los procesos de enseñanza-aprendizaje de las matemáticas dentro de una perspectiva multimodal y discute un enfoque semiótico apto para aprovechar esta dimensión llamada el lente Semiotic Bundle. Esta herramienta analítica tiene en cuenta la gran variedad de recursos semióticos a través de los cuales los significados matemáticos emergen y evolucionan en el aula, como los gestos hasta los sistemas simbólicos. En particular, el análisis los considera de forma sistémica y dinámica. La explicación teórica se ilustra mediante un ejemplo de conceptualización espacial de niños, llevado a cabo en el jardín de infantes. El análisis de datos constituirá un trasfondo contra el cual se resaltarán las conexiones con la teoría de la objetivación, mostrando una resonancia constructiva entre las dos teorías.


Doi: 10.30827/pna.v12i4.7848

Palabras clave

Gestos; Juego semiótico; Multimodalidad; Semiotic Bundle


Arzarello, F. (2006). Semiosis as a multimodal process. Revista Latinoamericana de Investigación en Matemática Educativa, Special Issue on Semiotics, Culture, and Mathematical Thinking, 267-299.

Arzarello, F. & Bartolini Bussi, M. G. (1998). Italian Trends in Research in Mathematics Education: a National Case Study in the International Perspective. In J. Kilpatrick & A. Sierpinska (Eds.), Mathematics Education as a Research Domain: a Search for Identity (pp. 197-212). The Netehrlands: Kluwer Academic Publishers.

Arzarello, F., & Sabena, C. (2014). Introduction to the approach of Action, Production and Communication (APC). In A. Bikner-Ahsbahs & S. Prediger (Eds.), Networking of Theories as a Research Practice in Mathematics Education (pp. 31-45). ZDM-Series Advances in Mathematics Education. New York, NY: Springer.

Arzarello, F., Paola, D. Robutti, O., & Sabena, C. (2009). Gestures as semiotic resources in the mathematics classroom. Educational Studies in Mathematics, 70(2), 97-109.

Arzarello, F., Ascari, M., Baldovino, C., & Sabena, C. (2011). The teacher’s activity under a phenomenological lens. In U. Behiye (Ed.), Proceedings of the 35th Conference of the International Group for the Psychology of Mathematics Education (Vol. 2, pp. 49-56). Ankara, Turkey: PME.

Bartolini Bussi, M. G., & Mariotti, M. A. (2008). Semiotic mediation in the mathematical classroom. Artefacts and signs after a Vygotskian perspective. In L. English (Ed.), Handbook of international research in mathematics education, 2nd revised edition. (pp. 746-783). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Bikner-Ahsbahs, A., & Prediger, S. (Eds.) (2014). Networking of Theories as a Research Practice in Mathematics Education. ZDM-Series Advances in Mathematics Education. New York, NY: Springer.

Calbris, G. (2011). Elements of Meaning in Gesture. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjiamins Publishing Company.

DBRC-The Design Based Research Collective (2003). Design-Based Research: An Emerging Paradigm for Educational Inquiry. Educational Researcher, 32(1), 5-8.

Duval, R. (2006). A cognitive analysis of problems of comprehension in a learning of mathematics. Educational Studies in Mathematics, 61, 103-131.

Edwards, L. D. (2009). Gestures and conceptual integration in mathematical talk. Educational Studies in Mathematics, 70(2), 127-141.

Edwards, L. (2010). Doctoral students, embodied discourse and proof. In M. F. Pinto & T. F. Kawasaki (Eds.), Proceedings of the 34th conference of the International Group for the Psychology of Mathematics Education (pp. 329-336). Belo Horizonte, Brazil: PME.

Ernest, P. (2006). A Semiotic Perspective of Mathematical Activity. Educational Studies in Mathematics, 61, 67-101.

Freudenthal, H. (1991). Revisiging mathematics education. China Lectures. Dordrecht, Netherlands: Klower Academic Publishers.

Gallese, V., & Lakoff, G. (2005). The brain’s concepts: The role of the sensory-motor system in conceptual knowledge. Cognitive Neuropsychology, 22, 455-479.

Hostetter, A. B. & Alibali, M. W. (2008). Visible embodiment: Gestures as simulated action. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 15(3), 495-514.

Kress, G. (2004). Reading images: Multimodality, representation and new media. Information Design Journal, 12(2), 110-119.

Lakoff, G., & Nùñez, R. (2000). Where Mathematics Comes From: How the Embodied Mind Brings Mathematics into Being. New York, NY: Basic Books.

Lurçat, L. (1980). Il bambino e lo spazio. Il ruolo del corpo [The child and the space. The role of the body]. Firenze: La Nuova Italia Editrice.

McNeill, D. (1992). Hand and mind: What gestures reveal about thought. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.

Mcneill, D. (2005). Gesture and thought. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.

Nemirovsky, R. (2003). Three conjectures concerning the relationship between body activity and understanding mathematics. In N. A. Pateman, B. J. Dougherty, & J. T. Zillox (Eds.), Proceedings of the 27th Conference of the International Group for the Psychology of Mathematics Education (Vol. 1, pp. 105–109). Honolulu, HI: PME.

Otte, M. (2006). Mathematical Epistemology from a Peircean Semiotic Point of View. Educational Studies in Mathematics, 61, 11-38.

Peirce, C. S. (1931-1958). Collected Papers, Vol. I-VIII. Edited by C. Hartshorne, P. Weiss & A. Burks. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Massachussetts. (CP, Volume number. Paragraph number).

Poincaré, H. (1905). La valeur de la Science [The value of Science]. Paris, France: Flammarion.

Papert, P. (1980). Mindstorms. Children, computers and powerful ideas. New York, NY: Basic Books, Inc.

Radford, L. (2003). Gestures, speech, and the sprouting of signs: A semiotic-cultural approach to students’ types of generalization. Mathematical Thinking and Learning, 51(1), 37–70.

Radford, L. (2008). Connecting theories in mathematics education: Challenges and possibilities. ZDM, 40(2), 317-327.

Radford, L. (2009). ‘‘No! He starts walking backwards!’’: Interpreting motion graphs and the question of space, place and distance. ZDM - The International Journal on Mathematics Education, 41, 467-480.

Radford, L., & Sabena, C. (2015) The Question of Method in a Vygotskian Semiotic Approach. In A. Bikner-Ahsbahs, C. Knipping, & N. Presmeg (Eds.), Approaches to Qualitative Research in Mathematics Education. Examples of Methodology and Methods (pp. 157-182). Dordrecht, Netherlands: Springer.

Radford, L., Bardini, C., & Sabena, C. (2007). Perceiving the general: The semiotic symphony of students’ algebraic activities. Journal for Research in Mathematics Education, 38(5), 507-530.

Radford, L., Edwards, L., & Arzarello, F. (2009). Beyond words. Educational Studies in Mathematics, 70(3), 91-95.

Radford, L., Demers, S., Guzmán, J., & Cerulli, M. (2003). Calculators, graphs, gestures and the production of meaning. In N. Pateman, B. Dougherty & J. Zilliox (Eds.), Proceedings of the 27th PME Conference (Vol. 4, pp. 55-62), Honolulu, HI: PME.

Radford, L., Arzarello, F., Edwards, L., & Sabena, C. (2017). The Multimodal Material Mind: Embodiment in Mathematics Education. In J. Cai (Ed.), Compendium for Research in Mathematics Education (pp. 700-721). Reston, VA: National Council of Teachers of Mathematics.

Radford, L., Bardini, C., Sabena, C., Diallo, P., & Simbagoye, A. (2005). On embodiment, artifacts, and signs: A semiotic-cultural perspective on mathematical thinking. In H. L. Chick & J. L. Vincent (Eds.), Proceedings of the 29th Conference of the International Group for the Psychology of Mathematics Education (vol. 4, 113-120). Melbourne, Australia: University of Melbourne, PME.

Roth, W.M. (2001). Gestures: Their Role in Teaching and Learning. Review of Educational Research, 71(3), 365–392.

Sabena, C. (2017). Early child spatial development: A teaching experiment with programmable robots. In G. Aldon, F. Hitt, L. Bazzini & U. Gellert (Eds.), Mathematics and technology: A C.I.E.A.E.M. source book (pp. 13-30). Springer Series ‘Advances in Mathematics Education’.

Sabena, C., Robutti, O., Ferrara, F., & Arzarello, F. (2012). The development of a semiotic frame to analyse teaching and learning processes: Examples in pre- and post-algebraic contexts. In L. Coulange, J-P. Drouhard, J-L. Dorier, & A. Robert, (Eds.), Recherches en Didactique des Mathématiques, Numéro spécial hors-série, Enseignement de l'algèbre élémentaire: bilan et perspectives (pp. 231-245). Grenoble, France: La Pensée Sauvage.

Talmy, L. (2000). Toward a Cognitive Semantics. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.

Tall, D. (2000). Biological Brain, Mathematical Mind & Computational Computers (how the computer can support mathematical thinking and learning). In Wei-Chi Yang, Sung-Chi Chu, Jen-Chung Chuan (Eds), Proceedings of the Fifth Asian Technology Conference in Mathematics, Chiang Mai, Thailand (pp. 3–20). ATCM Inc, Blackwood VA.

Vygotsky, L. S. (1978). Mind in society. The development of higher psychological processes. Edited by M. Cole, V. John-Steiner, S. Scribner, & E. Souberman. Cambridge, MA, and London: Harvard University Press.(Original work published 1931)

Vygotsky, L. S. (1986). Thought and Language. In A. Kozulin (Ed. and Trans.) Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. (Original work published in 1934).

Texto completo: PDF (English)


La descarga de archivos se rige por la licencia Creative Commons Reconocimiento-No comercial-Sin obras derivadas

ISSN: 1887-3987