Exploring Multiliteracies Pedagogies With Pre-Service Teachers: A Canadian Perspective

Exploring Multiliteracies Pedagogies With Pre-Service Teachers: A Canadian Perspective

Joanne A. Robertson (University of British Columbia, Canada)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-9261-7.ch011

Abstract

This chapter provides a review of the research literature related to contemporary views of literacy, including the concept of multiliteracies that originated with the New London Group in the 1990s. The chapter aims to facilitate understanding of a pedagogy of multiliteracies from a Canadian perspective, both in terms of the current research agenda and the implementation of multiliteracies in practice, with a specific focus on the role of teacher education programs. Using a self-study methodology, the author shares her experiences as a teacher educator in British Columbia and proposes a pedagogical framework for pre-service teachers that aims to deepen their understanding of multiliteracies through situated practice, overt instruction, critical framing, and transformed practice. The chapter includes a discussion of digital resources that may enhance educators' ability to design literacy programs that are responsive to the rich cultural and linguistic identities of their students.
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Introduction

The concept of multiliteracies was conceived by the New London Group, a group of ten scholars who met in New London, New Hampshire in 1994 to develop a new pedagogical approach to literacy instruction. Their manifesto on multiliteracies was published in a seminal article that appeared in the Harvard Review in 1996. Multiliteracies recognized the powerful, emergent influences of globalization and proliferation of digital technologies. A pedagogy of multiliteracies expanded the traditional concept of literacy instruction by prioritizing multilingualism and multimodal forms of expression and representation through the use of new technologies and increased access to cultural and linguistic diversity within local communities and schools.

A pedagogy of multiliteracies has been well researched over the past two decades by members of the original New London Group (e.g., Cope & Kalantizis, 2000; Kalantizis, Cope & Harvey, 2003; Kress, 2003). In Canada, there has been extensive research on multiliteracies that focuses specifically on making classroom literacy instruction more inclusive and respectful of students’ cultural and linguistic identities (e.g. Cummins, 2008; Cummins & Early, 2011; Cummins, Hu, Markus, & Montero, 2015; Cummins et al, 2016; Li, 2008; Taylor, Bernhard, Garg & & Cummins, 2008). However, despite the emphasis on multiliteracies pedagogies in Canadian educational research and post-secondary education programs over the past two decades, significant gaps between the theoretical conceptualizations of multiliteracies and their implementation in classroom literacy practices and programs still exist (e.g. Early & Kendrick, 2017; Naylor, 2005).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Multimodal: A range of modes (or means) of expression and communication that includes linguistic, visual, aural, gestural, and spatial representations.

Multiliteracies: An approach to literacy and literacy instruction proposed by the New London Group in the 1990s. A pedagogy of multiliteracies expands the traditional concept of literacy instruction by prioritizing two important aspects: multilingualism and multimodal forms of expression and representation.

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