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Investigating the discursive interplay of discourses of (new) multiliteracies : a Bakhtinian perspective Tabyanian, Shahbaz

Abstract

Information and communication technologies (ICTs) have given rise to many distinct discourses in the field of literacy studies. The present study examined the discursive interplay between two of these discourses, namely the practical discourses of those who see themselves as empowered by ICTs and the theoretical discourses of theory and research literature on the notions of multiliteracies. Drawing on the emergent discourses from the interview data, this study explored the practitioners' underlying beliefs and their assumptions about technology-mediated new multiliteracies as opposed to traditional print-based literacy. As such the study also argued for a sustainable dialogue between the discourses of practice and discourses of theory and research, suggesting that the discursive interplay between these two discourse communities would contribute to the application of the complex theoretical notions to multiliteracy pedagogy. Employing a qualitative approach, the study drew on Bakhtin's (1986) notion of primary/secondary genres to depict the relevance of the notions of discourse in arriving at the underlying assumptions about the nature of multiliteracies and its implications. This study was broadly framed within a critical social research perspective (Fairclough, 2003). The notion of multiliteracies was explored from the standpoint of the New London Group (1996). Grounded Theory procedures (Strauss & Corbin, 1998) were also employed to identify major themes in the data, while general content analysis method was used to interpret the interview data. The main question that guided this investigation was as follows: How do expert practitioners' perceptions of new multiliteracies and their implications map onto their practices with new multiliteracies? The findings of this study pointed to the practitioners' willingness to implement new approaches in their literacy practices. Moreover, these findings highlighted the importance of a sustainable dialogue between the discourses of theory and practice to enhance literacy educators' pedagogical choices. The researcher hopes that the findings of this study contribute to the future teacher education policy and curriculum development in such a way that current pedagogical practices are expanded to include multiple literacies.

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