UBC Theses and Dissertations

UBC Theses Logo

UBC Theses and Dissertations

"We speak the language of changemakers" : critical pedagogies and transformative multiliteracies in a community of practice beyond ESL Meredith, Kimberly Janine


As educators face the challenge of preparing students for local and global citizenship in societies marked by such cultural and linguistic complexity that researchers have labeled them “super-diverse” (Blommaert & Rampton, 2011; Vertovec, 2007), older models of English as a Second Language instruction that aimed at the assimilation of non-English speakers into English-dominant societies are giving way to a new wave of pedagogical approaches including multiliteracies (New London Group, 2000) and pluriliteracies (Lin, 2013; Taylor & Snoddon, 2013) that recognize—and create citizens who recognize—the value of linguistic diversity, the necessity of critical linguistic awareness, and the possibility for linguistic inclusion and transformative change. My research investigates the meaning-making practices and identities of linguistically-diverse youth engaged in transformative multiliteracies pedagogies (Cummins, 2009) at an international seminar on youth leadership for social change. In an alternative international education setting, this study explores what is possible in terms of pedagogy, practice, and policy when we move beyond “ESL”/ “Native English Speaker” to include the plurilingual and multimodal resources, identities and practices of all participants. This study takes a critical approach to language and literacy pedagogy (Morgan & Ramanathan, 2005; Janks, 2010; Norton & Toohey, 2011), multilingualism (Blackledge & Creese, 2010; Alim 2010), plurilingualism (Lin, 2013), and language learning (Norton & Toohey, 2004). In addition, this investigation takes a community of practice approach to learning and competency (Lave & Wenger, 1991; Wenger, 1999) and a social practice approach to identity (Norton, 2000, 2013) and language (Pennycook, 2010a; Blackledge & Creese, 2010). This critical ethnography (Anderson, 1989; Carspecken, 2001; Talmy, 2010a) draws on a small stories (Bamberg & Georgakopoulou, 2008) narrative approach and a Bakhtinian (1981) discourse analysis to investigate the communicative practices and identity positionings of linguistically diverse youth. Video ethnography (Heath, Hindmarsh, & Luff, 2010) and interview as a social practice (Talmy, 2010c) were used to approach the rich discursive practices of the community as the participants engaged in activities that encourage and explore diversity, access, power, and design—the four interconnected elements of Janks’ (2009) critical literacy framework.

Item Citations and Data


Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada