UBC Graduate Research

Multiliteracies in adult english as a second language programs Newton, Andrew


Over the last number of years there has been a growing recognition of important changes in the way that literacy is used and understood. These changes are attributed to increased flows of immigration around the globe that have resulted in more diverse populations, and the massive increase in use and accessibility of Internet and Communication Technology (lCT), principally internet based multimedia. Multiliteracies was the term given to these changes by the New London Group in 1996. Since that time much has been written on the topic and many case studies have documented its use in a wide range of programs, ages, and contexts. There is evidence, however, that educational programs continue to lag behind in recognizing and implementing these changes in substantive form, or struggle with how to bridge the gap between the old print literacy standards of reading and writing based assignments and assessments- and those of multiliteracies. The goal in this study was to examine in what ways multiliteracies-based pedagogies have been applied in the area of adult English as a second language education. In addition to presenting case studies from this teaching context, various case studies involving different ages and contexts are presented with the hypothesis that many of their findings are relevant and applicable to the practice of multiliteracies in the adult ESL context. Lastly, the findings of a study involving an original questionnaire on policies, beliefs and practices in the adult ESL classroom are presented. It is hoped that these findings will contribute to the research base on multiliteracies practices in this teaching context. By sharing these results with professionals in this educational sector the author hopes to raise awareness of multiliteracies and their potential to contribute to the theory and teaching practices that are used in adult ESL programs.

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