MULTILITERACY - What it means for education.
Literacy throughout history has been defined and redefined nearly as rapidly as new generations emerge. As we tread further into the twenty first century, our generation moves to redefine literacy once again. However, unlike generations past, we are taking literacy and rapidly spanning it over new mediums that had been, until recently, unavailable. "Our personal, public and working lives are changing in some dramatic ways, and these changes are transforming our cultures and the ways we communicate" (NLG, 1996, p. 72). This means that the way we have taught literacy, and what counts for literacy, will also have to change. Recently as educators have become aware of these changing social and economic imperatives, the emphasis in literary circles has shifted from a narrow focus on "English" and academic literary, to the boarder notion of "multiliteracy". According to the New London Group (1996, p. 63) "multiliteracy is the multimodal activity in which oral, written and communic!.
ation intertwine and interact".
"A pedagogy of multiliteracies focuses on modes of representation much broader than language alone" (NLG, 1996, p. 83). These differ according to culture and context and have specific cognitive, cultural and social effects. In some cultural contexts - In an Aboriginal community, for instance - the visual mode of representation may be much more powerful and closely related to language than "mere literacy" (language only) would ever be able to allow. . No longer do the old pedagogies of a formal, standard, written national language have the use they once did. Instead "multiliteracy" suggests an open ended and flexible functional grammar, which assists language learners to describe language differences (cultural, subcultural, regional/national, technical, context specific, and so on) and the multimodal channels of meaning now so important to communication.