Pedagogy of Multiliteracies
Routledge – 2011 – 214 pages
Series: Routledge Research in Education
Based on case studies from public schools in Toronto, Canada, this book chronicles an inspiring five-year journey to develop thinking about and teaching literacy for the 21st century. The research, which was classroom-based and developed by public school teachers in collaboration with university researchers, was stimulated by an ethnographic study at Joyce Public School to track children learning to read in an era of multiliteracies.
Following the kindergarteners’ interest in Goldilocks and the Three Bears, Lotherington asked the principal: What would Goldilocks look like, retold through the eyes of the children? The resulting classroom experiment to transform learning to read a storybook into multimodal collaborative story-telling sparked the development of an award-winning school-university learning community dedicated to the development of multimodal literacies in the culturally diverse, urban classroom.
Pedagogy of Multiliteracies tells the evolving story of teachers’ trial-and-error interventions to engage children in multiple modes of expression involving structured play with contemporary media. Using the complex texts created, the teachers carve spaces to welcome the voices of children and the languages of the community into the English-medium classroom.
"Lotherington (York Univ., Canada) studied this collaborative action research project, which over a period of five years was conducted by teachers at an inner-city school and university researchers. Children learned a traditional story that they then rewrote from their own cultural and linguistic perspective in digital format. In a grade-two classroom, a digital Goldilocks and the Three Bears portrays Goldilocks as a space explorer who invades the home of three aliens and finds three bowls of slime that taste like mud, taffy with nails in it, and Jell-O. In this retelling, children's cultural understandings are grounded in the digital world of popular culture, rather than the physical world. Lotherington's study presents a new vision of multimodal literacy coherent with the social world that the children will inherit in the future. This project also supports home language maintenance and English-language learning as children acquire the agency to retell their version of a story imprinting their cultural stamp. This book is a must read for teachers and teacher educators concerned about how to foster critical engagement in the literacy classroom." -- L. Lockard, Northern Arizona University, CHOICE
Heather Lotherington is Professor of Multilingual Education at York University.