03 SES 03 B JS, Multilingual, Multicultural and Multimodal Curriculum Innovation
Joint Paper Session NW 03 and NW 07
We are constantly flooded with messages that frame us. These messages construct who we are “supposed” to be, they frame us as particular kinds of people based on hierarchies of race, gender, socioeconomic class, and language difference that extend to the neighborhoods we grow up in and the schools we attend. For some, this discursive framing lends inherent benefits, but for others it positions them at a disadvantage that can work to limit their opportunities, expectations, and dreams for the future. Urban students of color often suffer from deficit framing which positions them as an at-risk population (Howard, 2006; Harris 2004; Milner, 2010; Vasudevan & Campano, 2009). These discursive frames create psychological stress for urban adolescents of color and are augmented by national discourses of functionalism and meritocracy, which assume that societal conditions support all citizens equally and a person’s hard work will benefit them socially and economically (Kliebard, 2004; Hurn, 1993). These national societal discourses promise urban adolescents of color that they have an equal chance of success, and that their hard work in school will benefit them later in life, but many youth know through experience that these discourses of meritocracy mask broader inequities, and that hard work in and of itself does not translate to academic or financial rewards.
In the current school culture of accountability and standardization, test scores and mandated curricula are used to frame students in ways that perpetuate the education debt owed to our students of color (Ladson-Billings, 2006). The New London Group (1996) ask the question, “how do we supplement what schools already do?” in their discussion of the design of social futures (pg. 19). Unfortunately, what often gets added when SINI try to reform curricula based upon low state test scores is more of the same; students experience more drilling of basic skills in order to ensure a minimum level of competency, rather than new pedagogical approaches that could expand their cadre of literacy skills. Further, these skills are positioned as neutral, and the national meritocratic discourses surrounding schooling as a great equalizer lead to a situation where, “the forms of literacy learned in school usually do not lead to the urge or ability to think “critically” in the sense of understanding how systems and institutions interrelate to help and harm people” (Gee, 2001, p. 1). This predominant focus on the basics leaves out important opportunities to critically engage with texts that are missing from conversations of what we can add to address gaps in curricula.
This qualitative practitioner research study will examine how students of color in a school labeled academically low performing engage with a critically focused multimodal curriculum. I will look to how students negotiate understandings of race, class, and gender, as well as how they come to understand the ways in which these identifiers contribute to social benefits or disadvantages.
In an effort to capture the growing understanding among students of the ways in which stories can reinforce or questions stereotypes, and to track their changing views on social issues related to race, class, and gender over time, I ask the following questions:
What are students’ views regarding race, class, gender, etc., and how do these views change over time?
How does this research inform my growing understanding of what it means to teach well?
I use qualitative practitioner research to study how students of color in a school labeled academically low performing engage with a critically focused multimodal curriculum. I look to how students negotiate understandings of race, class, and gender, as well as how they come to understand the ways in which these identifiers contribute to social benefits or disadvantages. I use Lee Bell’s (2010) Storytelling for Social Justice as a framework wherein students use critical literacy to examine stock stories, reveal concealed and resistant stories, and ultimately create transforming stories of their own. In an effort to address my research questions, I will look to student artifacts such as formal and informal class writing assignments to determine how individual students and groups of students formulate their understanding of stock, concealed, resistant, and transformative stories, as well as classroom discussion transcripts to document how students begin to identify issues of importance to them and present and discuss these issues with their peers and teachers.
In this research, I will utilize students’ existing technological skills and funds of knowledge to craft a curriculum that challenges them to think critically about social issues as they inquire into the power, perspective, and positioning of the texts that they consume and produce. By decentering traditional texts as the means for composition and critique in this study, I hope to examine how the opportunities presented by visual, aural, and digital modes do (not) invite students to be attentive to the interplay of textual modes, their potential to open up new possibilities for critique, and how they do (not) encourage academic engagement while also reinforcing students 21st century communication skills. Findings of this study aim to provide an increased understanding of the ways in which students identify and deconstruct stock stories to reveal the concealed and resistant stories that coexist with these stock stories. This increased awareness among students may lead to student compositions that present transforming stories that interrogate oppressive narratives, but even when students might reinforce or reproduce these oppressive narratives can provide for continued inquiry thus teaching students that we can never stand outside of discourse in that it affects us both consciously and unconsciously.
Harris, A. (2004). Future girl: Young women in the twenty-first century. Psychology Press Howard, G. R. (2016). We can't teach what we don't know: White teachers, multiracial schools. Teachers College Press. Milner IV, H. R. (2010). Start where you are, but don't stay there: Understanding diversity, opportunity gaps, and teaching in today's classrooms. Harvard Education Press. 8 Story Street First Floor, Cambridge, MA 02138. Vasudevan, L., & Campano, G. (2009). The social production of adolescent risk and the promise of adolescent literacies. Review of research in education, 33(1), 310-353. The New London Group. (1996). A pedagogy of multiliteracies: Designing social futures. Harvard educational review, 66(1), 60-93. Ladson-Billings, G. (2006). From the achievement gap to the education debt: Understanding achievement in US schools. Educational researcher, 35(7), 3-12. Kliebard, H. M. (2004). The struggle for the American curriculum, 1893-1958. RoutledgeFalmer. Hurn, C. J. (1993). The limits and possibilities of schooling: An introduction to the sociology of education (Chp 2, pp. 42-70; Chp 4, 102-131). Boston: Allyn and Bacon. Gee, J. P. (2001, February). Critical literacy as critical discourse analysis. In 46th Annual Convention of the International Reading Association, New Orleans, LA. Bell, L. A. (2010). Storytelling for social justice: Connecting narrative and the arts in antiracist teaching. Routledge.
00. Central Events (Keynotes, EERA-Panel, EERJ Round Table, Invited Sessions)
Network 1. Continuing Professional Development: Learning for Individuals, Leaders, and Organisations
Network 2. Vocational Education and Training (VETNET)
Network 3. Curriculum Innovation
Network 4. Inclusive Education
Network 5. Children and Youth at Risk and Urban Education
Network 6. Open Learning: Media, Environments and Cultures
Network 7. Social Justice and Intercultural Education
Network 8. Research on Health Education
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Network 10. Teacher Education Research
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Network 12. LISnet - Library and Information Science Network
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Network 14. Communities, Families and Schooling in Educational Research
Network 15. Research Partnerships in Education
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Network 17. Histories of Education
Network 18. Research in Sport Pedagogy
Network 19. Ethnography
Network 20. Research in Innovative Intercultural Learning Environments
Network 22. Research in Higher Education
Network 23. Policy Studies and Politics of Education
Network 24. Mathematics Education Research
Network 25. Research on Children's Rights in Education
Network 26. Educational Leadership
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