Preservice Teachers' Knowledge, Attitudes, and Perception of their Preparation to Teach Multiliteraies/Multimodality

Mar. 30, 2010

Source:The Teacher Educator, Volume 46, Issue 1, 2010, pages 6-31.
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)

The goals of this research are to examine the preservice teachers' knowledge of multimodality/multiliteracies, their perceptions of their preparation and attitudes to teaching multiliteracies in K–12 grades.

The following research questions provide a framework for the study:
(a) Are preservice teachers aware of the changing literacy practices in relation to changing textual and media technologies?
(b) Do preservice teachers believe that their literacy courses provide them with skills and knowledge to teach multiliteracies/multimodality?
(c) Do they anticipate teaching new literacies in their own classrooms in the future?

The study was carried out in a state university in southern California. 48 preservice teachers participated in this study. 43 of the participants were Hispanics and 5 were White.
32 of the respondents were female and 16 were male.
In addition, 19 of the respondents were in elementary education, 16 in secondary education, 5 in blended programs, and 8 participants were in an intern program.
Eighteen of the respondents worked as substitute teachers, 12 as teacher assistants, 4 as university interns, and 14 were either full-time students or worked in offices.

Data Collection
Data were collected through the participants' qualitative and quantitative responses.

Summary of Findings and Implications

The results of this study revealed that the participants were aware of the changing nature of communication technologies and their transformative impacts on literacy forms and knowledge and skill acquisition. They identified specific multimedia technologies that were crucial to acquisition of knowledge and use of information and essential to new ways of social interaction in the cyber age. They also identified the attendant challenges to teaching that teachers faced in the classroom, particularly when technologies may not be available.
In addition, the participants expressed concerns regarding the adequacy of their preparation to teach new literacies, and they also noted the constraints coming from schools and school districts


The research findings have important implications.
First, there is a need to expand the scope of literacy teacher education curriculum to allow for new ways of preparing teachers to deal with today's plethora of technologies and the resulting multiple text-types.

Second, there is an urgent need for the Department of Education to mandate states to test multiliteracies along-side with the traditional literacy in their literacy assessments.

Third, there is a need for a new vision of literacy teacher preparation—a re-conceptualization of preservice teacher training within a broader construct of teaching; that is, as a technological construct (Hoffman & Pearson, 2000). It will provide a framework for preparing preservice teachers for the convergence of literacy instruction and network of people, technologies, and tools (Gee, 2003).

Finally, there is a need for research to inform the practice of multiiteracies/multimodality and literacy teacher education.

Other important issues for researchers and teacher educators include developing general principles, approaches for evaluation of media (e.g., critical literacies), practical guidelines for teaching new media, interconnection of diversity of cultures and new media, the social nature of learning in multiliteracies, and the changing role of teachers in relation to multiliteracies/multimodality.

Gee, J. P. (2003). What video games have to teach us about learning and literacy. New
York: Palgrave Macmillan.
Hoffman, J., & Pearson, P. (2000). Reading teacher education in the next
millennium: What your grandfather’s teacher didn’t know that your granddaughter’s teacher should. Reading Research Quarterly, 35(1), 28–44.

Updated: Sep. 14, 2011