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Multiliteracies in Early Childhood Classrooms
Kaitlyn Ladneron 28 March 2013
Transcript of Multiliteracies in Early Childhood Classrooms
It is imperative for teachers to be educated about the advantages of ICT support in the class room. A knowledgeable teacher will be able to provide students with new and exciting learning experiences. Edwards, A. (2004). Multiliteracies Pedagogy in the Classroom Context. Unpublished honors thesis, University of Southern Queensland. Edwards of the University of Southern Queensland wrote her thesis on Multiliteracies pedagogy in the classroom context. What is acknowledged as ‘literacy’ in today’s classroom is dramatically different to traditional literacy. The twenty-first century is saturated with a variety of new technologies and new literacies, therefore teachers need to adjust their pedagogies. The teacher’s philosophy about literacy pedagogy influences they way learning is facilitated in the classroom and the way they use technologies to promote literacies. Literacy is a social practice that includes not only reading words but also gestures, glances, body positions, objects and settings.
It is imperative for teachers to acknowledge the changes in literacy and to adjust their pedagogies to benefit learners in the twenty-first century. Burnett, C. (2010). Technology and Literacy in Early Childhood Educational Settings: A Review of Research. Journal of Early Childhood Literacy, 10(3), 247-270. Retrieved March 20, 2013, from http://ecl.sagepub.com.ezproxy.usq.edu.au/content/10/3/247.full.pdf+html Burnett overviews research in technology and literacy for children in the early years in London and how educators have different assumptions about the role of new technologies in their classroom. Last decade educational settings increasingly reflected the ICT rich society we live in. Debates about the role of new technologies in early years continue. Some arguments reveal new technologies are a distraction from the more natural, healthy and developmentally appropriate way of teaching literacy in the early years. There is an increasing recognition of new technologies need to be incorporated into the early years curriculum, therefore the guidelines need to be consistent.
It is imperative that teachers are given information and support towards the teaching of literacy with the aid of technology to boost their competence and confidence to enhance student learning in the twenty-first century. Cloonan, A. (2005). Injecting Early Years Teaching with a Strong Dose of Multiliteracies. Broardbeach, Queensland: Australian Association of the Teaching of English and Australian Literacy Educators' Association. Retrieved from http://dro.deakin.edu.au/eserv/DU:30005788/cloonan-injectingearly-2005.pdf Clooan highlights the importance of teachers leaving their comfort zones to design meaningful literacy experiences which will transform learners in the twenty-first century. Lack of explicit advice suggests that teachers are anxious about incorporating multiliteracies into their classroom, as a result they will continue to use regular print texts. Literacy is shifting and expanding and the learning needs of this generation of school entrants are arguably more diverse than preceding generations. Digital literacies are a new concept for teaching children, some teacher’s are suspicious of the pleasure students find when engaging with multimodal texts and believe learning should be more about ‘work’ rather than ‘play’.
Lack of knowledge affects teacher confidence in the classroom. Students are relying on educators to provide relevant learning experiences for their twenty-first century needs Cloonan, A. (2008). Multimodality Pedagogies : a Multiliteracies Approach. International Journal of Learning, 15(9), 159-168. Retrieved March 20, 2013, from http://dro.deakin.edu.au/eserv/DU:30017615/cloonan-multimodalitypedagogies-2008.pdf Anne Cloonan reports on a case study which explored changes in teachers’ literacy pedagogies after participation in a professional learning project. The case study revealed that some educators were confident with some parts; visual and critical literacy, but had to find more information about other aspects and literacies. Educators make assumptions that the younger students are not capable of being ‘meaning makers’ so choose not to incorporate it into the literacy lesson. Teachers found themselves in new territory, without obvious ways of working with students. Modes that would have previously been labelled as extra-linguistic have become vital elements of teaching literacy.
Teachers’ who adapt to twenty-first century needs in a classroom, recognise that there is room to improve literacy pedagogies. Crafton, L. K., Brennan, M., & Silvers, P. (2007). Critical Inquiry and Multiliteracies in a First-Grade Classroom. Language Arts, 84(6), 510-518. Retrieved March 18, 2013, from http://www.literacyinlearningexchange.org/sites/default/files/critical_inquiry_and_multiliteracies_in_a_first-grade_classroom.pd Crafton, Brennan and Silvers worked together in a classroom setting to provide evidence that the twenty-first century classroom has brought social and economic change. Ten years ago teachers were basing literacy lessons on theories such as; whole language and emergent literacies. These foundational theories are still important however it is imperative for teachers to connect with contemporary learners in the twenty-first century by expanding and deepening multiliteate experiences. The author’s collaborated and read The New London Groups article A Pedagogy of Multiliteracies (1996) to deepen their understanding on the pedagogy and ways of incorporating it in practical lesson plans. It is important not to underestimate what first-grade students are able to achieve in the classroom including; reading texts (written and pictorial), using ICT to communicate and power point presentations.
In the twenty-first century classroom it is important that students in the early years are given the opportunity to learn literacies in a way that reflects their needs. Green, D. (2006). Understanding language and language learning. In R. Campbell, & D. Green, Literacies and Learning: Current Perspectives (pp. 1-24). French Forest: Pearson Education Australia Green recognises that promoting multiliterate programs in classrooms, provide meaningful learning contexts. There is a need for classrooms to retain relevance to children’s live outside the classroom in the 21st-century. Children make sense of the word not only through written words, but by engaging with visual, audio and digital multimedia texts. Green highlights that it is essential for children to be given the opportunity to explore and engage with other literacies that are relevant in the 21st-century classroom.
Ensuring children are given the opportunity to make connections with their world and what is being taught in the classroom will encourage them to become life-long learners. Hesterman, S. (2011). A Contested Space: the dialogic intersection of ICT, multiliteracies, and early childhood. Contemporary Issues in Early Childhood, 12(4), 349-361. Retrieved March 13, 2013, from http://www.wwwords.co.uk.ezproxy.usq.edu.au/rss/abstract.asp?j=ciec&aid=4824&doi=1 According to Hesterman, Early childhood educators are contemplating the integration of ICT and literacy definition to support multiliteracies and how they will accommodate changes. The importance of ICTs in not predominantly the technology as such, but enabling function in access to knowledge, information and communications as it is an increasingly important aspect of today’s social interactions. However the enabling function of technologies in Western Australian early childhood education curriculum remains largely on teacher preference. A pedagogy of multiliteracies encourages teachers to reflect on how different pedagogical and classroom designs might invite new types of learning and accommodate 21st- century modes of communication.
Incorporating a pedagogy of multiliteracies into 21st-century classrooms provides teachers with an invaluable amount of resources to provide children with relevant experiences for their generation. Kerith, P. (2002). Multiliteracies in Prior-to School Education; Resisting the Push-Down Curriculum. (M. Kalantzis, & B. Cope, Eds.) International Journal of Learning, 9, 597-609. Retrieved March 20, 2013 Power emphasises the implications of constructing early childhood literacy as a social practice and the re-conceptualisation of ‘emergent literacy’ to ‘multiliteracies’. In the twenty-first century the teaching of literacies will better equip children for participation in an increasingly diverse and changing social environment. A pedagogy of multiliteraces opens up the possibility for previously marginalised people’s knowledge to contribute to the multiple meaning system which is necessary to participate in the twenty-first century. Teachers need to provide opportunities to each child to find meaning in the media they encounter and develop skills to express their own opinions to others.
Teachers who provide children with opportunities to discover meaning from texts allow the children to become active participants in the twenty-first century. Hill, S. (2007). Multiliteracies: towards the future. In S. Hill, & C. J. Laurie Makin (Ed.), Literacies In Childhood; Changing views, Challenging Practice (pp. 56-70). Marrickville, NSW: Debbie Lee. According to Hill teachers using multiliteracies with young children and the integration of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) in early childhood settings will support learners into becoming confident communicators. Communication tools are increasingly becoming multimodal rather than exclusively linguistic. Therefore it is essential to educate students about new forms of literacy; visual, auditory, gestural and spatial. Hill highlights that being multiliterate involves social and educational support to prepare learners for the future. However many early childhood educators are expressing worry about their lack of technological skills and familiarity with the resources they are expected to use in their classroom.
Creating a multiliterate classroom challenges educators to keep up to date with new forms of technology and communication styles to incorporate into their literacy lessons. Recognising the important role multiliteracies plays in an early childhood classroom to facilitate confident learners in the 21st century.