Multimodal, Multilingual Literacies: a consideration of literacy as a social practice and its contribution to the design and development of literacy and education initiatives.

Dr. Catherine MB Young

SIL International

This presentation will examine the contribution of the concepts of literacy as a social practice and the field of New Literacy Studies to effective learning within a broad perspective on communication strategies. These models have shaped thinking in applied and social linguistics, international development as well as language and literacy education.

Concepts associated with power/control and modernity as well as personal and collective identity impact communicative approaches. These, in turn, influence choices made by individuals and institutions, particularly in multilingual contexts where languages exist in an environment of both coercive and collaborative power relations.  

Employing both a historical and educational perspective on the influence of text-based learning, this paper will consider the significance multiple communicative approaches effectively support critical thinking and appropriate education and development initiatives. The presentation will also consider the contribution of literacy as a social practice to the development of mother tongue-based multilingual education initiatives and alternative learning systems for learners from non-dominant language communities including the design of learning materials.