Multimodality is the incorporation of multiple modes of communication. It’s a move away from print-centrism and a move toward a recognition that we communicate in more ways than one.
Multimodality has the ability to change your teaching. Embracing more than one mode of communication, AKA moving past print and linguistic modes, can include more students and increase creativity. Not sure what multimodality is? Keep reading to learn what counts as multimodality.
Simply put, multimodality is the notion that communication happens in more than one way. It includes recognition of modes besides language to communicate. The modes include (but may not be limited to) linguistic, visual, spatial, digital, gestural, and aural (Albers & Harste, 2007).
A Breakdown of Each Mode
The point with multimodality is to recognize that language has been centered to serve the dominant culture at the expense of rich classroom experiences for all students. Language is not always (and may rarely be) the best way to communicate meaning. Yet, its power of gatekeeping in education makes it a strong focus in schools. What’s more, many students who may already be marginalized and/or affected by trauma, are often talented users and even experts in other modes of communication. Centering print ignores their expertise. Recognizing the power of multiple modes to communicate and the hegemonic nature of print-centrism can open your classroom to allow the achievement of more students.
Albers, P, & Harste, J. C. (2007). The arts, new literacies, and multimodality. English Education, 40(1), 6-19.
My name is Erin E. Silcox. I'm working on my Ph.D. in Literacy Education, focusing on the intersection of trauma and literacy. I want to deepen our base of knowledge about trauma-informed practices in schools and help teachers apply findings right now.