Teaching Multimodal Literacy Using the Learning by Design Approach to Pedagogy: Case Studies from Selected Queensland Schools

By Mary Neville.

Published by The Learner, a book imprint by Common Ground Publishing

Format Price
Book: Print $US40.00
Book: Electronic $US15.00

This study uses qualitative research methodologies to explore the ways in which the Learning by Design framework facilitated the introduction of Multiliteracies and multimodal learning into the classrooms of three Queensland middle schooling teachers as they participated in a professional learning project during the second half of 2004. Recent Queensland education policy initiatives recognise the need for students to expand their ‘literate’ repertoires in this increasingly diverse cultural, linguistic, techno, and global-economic based society; an outcome that has drawn attention to the crucial role of professional learning in giving teachers the skills to produce curriculum and pedagogical designs in line with such a goal. While the documentation of conscious pedagogical choices in teachers’ approaches to teaching and learning about Multiliteracies and subsequent classroom practice in Queensland has varied according to teachers’ individual preferences and contexts, this study aimed to investigate what differences occurred when teachers deployed the Learning by Design pedagogy to produce a deliberate articulation of the micro teaching and learning conditions necessary for multimodal learning.

From the cross-case analysis and interpretation of the research data, five propositions have emerged: the relationship between the depth and breadth of teacher expertise in multimodality and its effect on instruction/design, learner engagement and performance; the alignment of pedagogical choices to learning goals; pedagogical alignment to learner needs and dispositions; consideration of flexibility in preparation of learners in transition points during the middle years of schooling; and the importance of quality multi-supportive professional learning environments to produce reflective practitioners with genuine and purposeful new knowledge. In this research the effectivity of the Learning by Design pedagogical framework was found to be directly related to the extent of professional learning and expertise that teachers had developed in both multimodality and the theory and principles informing the Learning by Design framework itself. The teaching of multimodal literacy creates an enormous pedagogical challenge for teachers as well as students. The research raises important considerations, therefore, not only about pedagogy but about the importance of developing professional learning initiatives to equip teachers to achieve the policy goals set out in recent initiatives. This highlights the need for the development of an in-depth and wide-ranging approach to the issue of professional learning. It is clear from this research that the Learning by Design framework can be used to transform classroom practice. However, it is equally clear that there must be a greater emphasis on professional learning and more resources channelled into building the groundwork for these new teaching initiatives.

Keywords: Multimodal Learning, Multiliteracies, Learning by Design

Book: Print (Paperback). Book: Electronic (PDF File; 3.150MB). Published by The Learner, a book imprint by Common Ground Publishing, Champaign, Illinois.

Mary Neville

Regional Manager Literacy, Greater Brisbane Region, Education Queensland, Kedron, Queensland, Australia

Mary Neville works for Education Queensland as a Regional Manager-Literacy for Greater Brisbane Region. Her primary role is to deliver professional development in literacy to teachers from Prep to Year 9. In 2006 she completed her Masters Degree by Research at RMIT University exploring the implementation of Multiliteracies through the Learning by Design framework in middle years classrooms.


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