Pre-service teacher discourses: Authoring selves through multimodal compositions

John Bishop
Department of Curriculum, Instruction and Special Education
School of Education and Psychology
University of Southern Mississippi

Abstract:

This article explores the use of digital and multimodal compositions among preservice elementary education students in a university language and literacy methods course. Furthermore, this piece argues for the inclusion of multimodal representation in our literacy courses given the changes in our digital landscape and the ever-increasing multimodality of our representational and communicational means online. This research aligns with a burgeoning collection of literature, namely New Literacies (Knobel & Lankshear, 2007) and multimodality (Kress & van Leeuwen, 2001).  In addition, this research merges with ‘traditional’ print-based literacy pedagogies that argue for models of teacher learning that foreground opportunities to ‘do’ digital composition in order to more effectively prepare students for 21st century literacy skills in epistemologically diverse digital environments. A combination of discourse and multimodal analysis provides a means to couple both linguistic and semiotic data to examine how multimodal design functions in the construction of teacher identities and how the flexibility of these identities in turn work to prepare new teachers for successful transitions into public school cultures. In other words, how might the practice of multimedia production, and reflection on those processes, foster a deeper self-awareness during a time when students are moving from university settings into public schools? This article argues that multimodal text design is dialogic and purposeful with regards to constructions of teacher identities and highlights two ‘Digital Literacy Projects,’ multimodal video compositions designed and produced by preservice teachers with video editing software. The two DLPs contrast the potential for authors to stabilize and/or improvise formations of identity, both which create opportunities to engage in praxis that merge university experiences with public school responsibilities.

Keywords

Digital video, discourse, identity, improvisation, moving image, multimodality, preservice teachers, self-fashioning

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