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Multiliteracies in Teacher Education  

Tala Michelle Karkar Esperat

Multiliteracies is an inclusive literacy approach that extends traditional print-based literacy (reading and writing) to integrate a wide range of modes of communication. These modes of communication include linguistic (words, text, speech), visual (images, pictures, video, color), audio (music, sounds), spatial (placement, location), gestural (movement, sensuality), and synesthesia (multimodal design). In addition to communication modes, multiliteracies integrates technologies (e.g., new literacies; digital media) in the classroom and is characterized by four pedagogical practices (situated practice, overt instruction, critical framing, and transformed practice) and cultural and social practices. Multiliteracies in teacher education includes the understanding of nature, theory, and pedagogical practices to inform curriculum decisions to meet the needs of all students. The concept of multiliteracies was developed as a new approach to literacy pedagogy by the New London Group in 1996. This provides a pedagogical space for learners to interact with information by using different modes of text forms to accommodate language, culture, context, and social effects to connect to the local and global world. Since the constitution of multiliteracies (1996–2024), the conversation of adopting multiliteracies as a pedagogical approach has evolved to identify the need for urgent and equitable educational change. It advocates for multilingual students’ learning experiences using modalities that support their individual learning. One way to ensure this is using tangible tools in teacher preparation, such as the pedagogical holistic model of the new literacies framework and pedagogical content knowledge of the multiliteracies survey instrument, which allow preservice teachers to continue to reflect on their teaching delivery. Educators use multiliteracies in the classroom to engage students in learning, embrace students’ diverse cultures, and help students form their identities. Multiliteracies education can be used as a tool for the empowerment of marginalized students. It supports the development of multimodal literacy skills and enables learners to communicate their identities in authentic ways, which fosters a more inclusive and equitable society. Multiliteracies aims to promote social justice through education, inspiring learners to think critically and become active participants in understanding the world by engaging in dialogue, developing more profound understanding, and appreciating other cultures. The use of multiliteracies is crucial in the diverse classroom. Teacher education programs must respond to the growing need by addressing the following questions: What do preservice teachers need to know about multiliteracies? Why do preservice teachers need to adopt multiliteracies? How can multiliteracies be used to prepare preservice teachers to integrate multiliteracies in multilingual classrooms?