00 SES 04, Promoting the Development of (Multi)literacies in Multilingual Societies: Challenges and Opportunities
This symposium will focus on the educationally relevant yet still largely unexplored issue of multiliteracies in multilingual societies. It will approach the complex phenomenon of multiliteracies from three perspectives: multiliteracy as a language repertoire in multilingual students, multiliteracy as digital resources, and school policies towards both. By stressing particularly the global and interdisciplinary relevance of this phenomenon, this session will furthermore specifically address the potential barriers and benefits which arise on students’ ways of becoming multiliterate. The overall purpose of this symposium is to foster the exchange of ideas amongst educational researchers across different subject areas and to promote collaboration on investigating multiliteracies in national and international contexts.
Be it digitally or language centered, multiliteracies have certain common features. They appear as multifaceted, multimodal, and non-static phenomena, which are emerging and changing in relation to particular social context (Mills, 2016). Especially the dynamics of their appearance may puzzle educators and policy makers leaving them rather unprepared to integrate the multiliteracy pedagogy into educational settings in Europe and beyond. Furthermore, both, language and digital multiliteracies may represent crucial prerequisites for students’ educational attainment across different subject areas and may influence their future career prosperity. The aim of this symposium is, therefore, to stimulate an interdisciplinary talk on the role of multiliteracies between educational researchers across different subject areas. The first paper of this symposium will explore multiliteracies considered as writing skills in multilingual students in Germany. By empirically revealing students’ multilingual profiles, it will provide a resources-oriented perspective on students’ multiliteracies. The second paper will explore the challenges of acquiring multiliteracies in a linguistically diverse context in Northern Belgium and discuss the deficit perspective on multilingualism within school language policies. The third and the final paper will shed light on multiliteracies as digital practices in and out of school in Spain. Similarly to the results on language multiliteracies, digital multiliteracies also experience unpreparedness of school to embrace the whole spectrum of their potential, which fosters students to compensate this misbalance by applying digital resources for informal learning in out of school domains.
With our symposium, we call for joining forces to further research the multiliteracies, their impact on students’ educational attainment, and their integration into the learning process across different subjects. The necessity for an interdisciplinary research is particularly evident as it would draw the attention of policy makers and educators to provide the opportunities for preserving and promoting multiliteracies in linguistically diverse contexts.
Mills, K. A. (2016). Literacy Theories for the Digital Age: Social, Critical, Multimodal, Spatial, Material and Sensory Lenses. Bristol, UK: Multilingual Matters.
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