What does the term multiliteracies mean and how does the concept of multiliteracies link to arts integration?
Teaching with multiliteracies in mind acknowledges the idea that “Meaning is made in ways that are increasingly multimodal—in which written-linguistic modes of meaning interface with oral, visual, audio, gestural, tactile, and spatial patterns.” (Claire McLachlan in the entry, Multiliteracies in Early Childhood Education from Oxford Bibliographies). Proponents of multiliteracies argue that definitions of literacy and development of student literacy should be expanded to include making meaning out of visuals, sound, and movement.
Whether single language learners, ML students, or ELL students, thoughtful integration of materials like comics, graphic novels, drama, film/video, and digital media in the classroom provide various access points for all students, as well as deepen meaning making and support development of multiliteracy skills across content areas. Arts integration opportunities happen when students learn to create their own original comics, sequential art, visuals, performances, films, or digital media. Arts-based multiliteracy education requires students to both “read” visual imagery and manipulate composition and space to create meaning. Students can then transfer these visual literacy skills to their own arts-based work.
Diversifying arts integration practices, processes and mediums, like adding forms of multiliteracies in your classroom, ensures that all students have access to learning in ways that are engaging and relevant to their lives.
Resources for teaching arts-based multiliteracies in the classroom:
Software such as Comic life can be used to create comics related to core content and is a great classroom resource for all grade and ability levels. For visual based imagery, a good resource on composition is the book “Picture This” by Molly Bang.
There are many wonderful websites that support the integration of Arts education and ELL across grade levels and of course do not forget that Side x Side also has resources for using film and digital media in your classrooms!
Enjoy your teaching adventures in arts-based multiliteracy education!