Pedagogy in the Multimodal Classroom: An Analysis of the Challenges and Opportunities for Teachers

From Section:
Instruction in Teacher Training
Aug. 10, 2010

Source: Teachers and Teaching: theory and practice, Vol. 16, No. 4, August 2010, 477–489.
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)

Focusing on teachers’ work in literacy teaching, this article proposes some signposts to assist teachers in navigating in the multimodal classroom.
Specifically, the study uses the influential conceptualization of literacy teaching in the multimodal context, the Multiliteracies Pedagogy Framework (Cazden et al., 1996; Cope & Kalantzis, 2000), to examine 11 cases of literacy teaching from a range of contexts.

This approach puts the spotlight on the pedagogical challenges teachers face as they assist students to comprehend and create texts in this constantly changing text environment and offers insight into effective ways teachers can work to extend student learning.

This paper presents background information about two projects conducted in two Australian cities which sought to address the research questions:
(1) What challenges do teachers face in planning and teaching for effective learning in a multimodal classroom context?
(2) What pedagogy produces rich learning experiences for students in the multimodal classroom context?


It is clear that it is highly motivating for students to work with digital technology.
However, as a number of the teachers in the study noted, the learning that immediately engages students is often the more superficial aspects of the technology such as its speed and color.

Teachers need to encourage students to analyze critical features of proposed texts and how they work with audiences.
This involves the strategic insertion of discussion of exemplar texts into the teaching process in such a way that student autonomy is not limited.

Cazden, C., Cope, B., Fairclough, N., Gee, J., Kalantzis, M.Kress, G. 1996. A pedagogy of multiliteracies: Designing social futures. Harvard Educational Review, 66(1): 60–92.
Cope, B. and Kalantzis, M., eds. 2000. Multiliteracies: Literacy learning and the design of social futures, Melbourne: Macmillan.

Updated: Jun. 20, 2018
Classroom environment | Content analysis | Educational technology | Learner engagement | Multimedia