Multiliteracies, in essence, is a shift away from traditional literacy practices and a move towards a more student driven learning situation that lends itself to promoting student voice.
Multiliteracies pedagogy stems from the New London Group’s (1996) efforts to redesign the ways through which educators effectively integrate literacy practices in the classroom. The group focused on four key learning practices; situated practice, overt instruction, critical framing, and transformative practice. Essentially, they wanted to frame an effective practice through which educators could promote a more authentic learning experience for students to apply to their own life.
Scholarly terms aside, I view multiliteracies pedagogy as a means of truly engaging students to be part of the language process. It allows students to embrace a variety of mediums through which they can read and write thanks to the technological advances of today. This pedagogical practice also promotes student identity by promoting culturally relevant readings in the classroom versus the traditional class novel study.
In essence “multiliteracies is about inclusion, not exclusion (Personal Communication, M. Mitches, February 9, 2015). Often, students do not feel like they are part of the learning process because the articles and books they are reading are of little to no connection to the content they are reading. Anstey & Bull (2007) note that multiliterate individuals “[are] flexible and strategic and can understand and use literacy and literate practices with a range of texts and technologies, in socially responsible ways; in a socially, culturally, and linguistically diverse world; and to fully participate in life as an active and informed citizen” (p. 55). Multiliteracies pedagogy extends beyond the boundaries of literacy practice and into all student learning no matter the content. The effective nature of multiliteracies supports students on all academic levels.
Perhaps multliteracies pedagogy is a best practice that addresses numerous challenges in the classroom where student engagement and creativity are concerned. If we wish to promote learning as a positive experience, we certainly should take a look at multiliteracies pedagogy and its promotion of student voice/identity via multiple learning entry points.