Let’s take a look at the concept
Multimodality refers to the use of different modes, tools, or communicative resources to create meaning. In this sense, modes of representation are understood as those tools that can be: written and oral language; visual, audio, tactile, gestural, and spatial representations.
Consequently, as a teacher, you must keep these modes in mind both when you create or choose a text for your students, as well as when they are creating texts.
These are the elements that people use to communicate and understand the world around them. That is why, in today’s classrooms, educators must be prepared to work with different resources and use multimodality in their classes by presenting the information in multiple ways. In this way, it will also be possible to recognize the elements that students use to create texts, where they show their preferences and communicative interests.
Here are some teaching ideas that you can include in your teaching practices and routines from a multimodal approach:
Practical exercise in class
- Students will choose a person with whom they have close and continuous contact.
- They will begin to observe and note their characteristics: the way they speak, the colors of their clothes, the accessories they use, their favorite music and food, the continuous movements of their body, the persistent gestures of their face and hands, most used words, and socio-cultural characteristics: like the people they live with, where, and what they do on a
- To collect the information students could use different data collection tools like: diary, organizing in charts the information, interviews, photos, observation, to name a few. (For this part of the process, the teacher must have explained in advance the characteristics of these tools and their application).
- After having these characteristics, students will begin to write a short story (which includes images, sounds, textures, colors, and elements that capture the reader’s attention) where the main character will be the person they chose and analyzed.
- This story must keep in mind its target audience (age and interests of the audience) and it must have a learning objective. That is, it must have a message, explanation, or new knowledge for the reader.
- In addition, it must follow the main characteristics of a short story.
- Then, students will share their stories with their classmates and in a reflective way, the teacher will open a space to talk about the process of observation, information gathering and the writing of the short story, according to what each student was able to do and experiment.
- The teacher may end up explaining how a person becomes a text that can be read and understood. All the characteristics that make up a person create their text, and by being able to interrogate, analyze and understand these characteristics, we can say that a person is a text that can be read. When we understand texts beyond written letters and recognize that there
are multiple modes and resources that can enrich them (color, movement, sound…) we open the perspective and understanding of what a text is.
- In addition, broaden the students’ vision of the way they read and write based on multimodality.
Here there are some key ideas that you can consider when applying multimodality in your classes:
● Include always in your classes different kind of modes to explain or send a message to your students: Pictures, illustrations, audio, speech, writing and print, music, movement, gestures, facial expressions, and colors.
● Keep in mind the different learning styles of your students and allow them to be able to choose the modes of their textual creations.
● Allow learning to be dynamic and interactive, so that students can interact with the information and knowledge presented in class.
Well, and how can you help your students to read and write in a multimodal way?
Here are some links to continue learning about Multimodality that can be useful for you.
For more information, you can also reference this LSLP Micropaper:
Mejía-Vélez, M. C. & Salazar Patiño, T. (2014). Multimodality. LSLP Micro-Papers, 4. Available in http://www.literaciesinl2project.org/uploads/3/8/9/7/38976989/lslp-micro-paper-4-multimodality.pdf