Multicultural Education and Multiliteracies: Exploration & Exposure of Literacy Practices with Preservice Teachers

Multicultural Education and Multiliteracies: Exploration & Exposure of Literacy Practices with Preservice Teachers

With my colleague Shane Smith, we recently conducted some research investigating opportunities for instruction in a hybrid learning environment. We used a Google+ Community to allow our students to read, respond, and react to readings and peers to extend discussion from the face-to-face classroom. The research identifies opportunities for multicultural education, culturally responsive teaching, multiliteracies, and hybrid learning environments. The research was published in Reading & Writing Quarterly in 2015. To access and comment on the paper, click here…or review below. You can also access the publication here on


This quasi-experimental, mixed model study explored the use of an instructional approach that provided direct instruction and experiences in multicultural education while empowering preservice teachers to examine their perspectives using a hybrid classroom format. The purpose of the study was to explore preservice teachers’ attitudes and dispositions toward the integration of multicultural education and multiliteracies to promote literacy among struggling readers. For the purposes of this study, we defined multicultural education as a field of study and an emerging discipline whose major aim is to create educational opportunities for all students, including students who are traditionally disenfranchised, to meaningfully and successfully engage in the education process. The study used a convenience sample of preservice teachers enrolled in a graduate-level educational program at a small private university in the Northeast. Results indicate opportunities for the use of an instructional approach that provides direct instruction and experiences in multicultural education while empowering preservice teachers to examine their perspectives in a hybrid classroom environment.

Multicultural Education and Demographic (MEaD) Instrument

One of the data points we used in the research was an instrument that we developed to understand teacher dispositions and demographic information that might affect the research questions and findings. To review the full MEaD instrument click here, or review below.

Research Presentation Materials

For the materials used in research presentations discussing this piece, please review the slides below. You can also click here to review and comment on the slides.

1 Comment Multicultural Education and Multiliteracies: Exploration & Exposure of Literacy Practices with Preservice Teachers

  1. wiobyrne

    We’re nearing the end of Learning Event Nine of the #WalkMyWorld Project 2015. You can learn more about the learning event by clicking here.
    This week we pulled together many of the tools and narratives we’ve used over the past two months to document a walk in each of our worlds. As we have shared and connected, each of you has opened up and shared a bit about what makes you unique. You’ve shared expertise, perspective, love, and loss. In Learning Event Nine, we’ve followed the lead on of the WNYC Radio Rookies and Webmaker Clubs to identify ways to report and advocate for others.

    Over the past week I have been busy traveling, presenting, and talking about this work to others. I have explained the #WalkMyWorld project and the open learning experience that we’ve built up together. In my travels, I have also spent some time sharing work on another research piece that I completed with my colleague Shane Smith. In these discussions I was brought back to Learning Event Nine and was struck by a couple things that I find very interesting when thinking about pedagogy in online spaces.
    Open may be the secret sauce
    In the Multicultural Education & Multiliteracies (ME& M) research that I shared in my research talks, we used a closed Google+ Community to have students read and discuss issues of identity, diversity, and multicultural education. The implications of the study call into question the challenges of having pre-service teachers read and discuss issues of identity and diversity, and then having it impact their teaching practice. In that study, some of the participants engaged in Communication Accommodation Theory (Giles & Ogay, 2007). Basically this means that students said what they thought we wanted them to say.

    In thinking through this previous research and juxtaposing it with our work in #WalkMyWorld, I realized that not many of you are exhibiting these same behaviors. In the research talk I expressed this, and hypothesized that it might be because the work in #WalkMyWorld is open, whereas the earlier research in ME & M was in a closed classroom. By adding the exposure of the open learning space, we added a level of authenticity which may be primarily due to the global audience viewing the content.
    Learning through knowledge construction
    Also while discussing the ME & M research, a colleague asked a very direct question about impact of this work on pre-service education. Specifically, the participant indicated that in their program, they ask students to read about diversity and urban education. They then ask students to discuss and write about how they are situated or impacted by this work. Finally, they have them teach and reflect in urban schools to see if it impacts their teaching to make it a bit more culturally responsive. The participant also shared that, for the most part it did not significantly effect teaching or reflections by the student teacher. They have tried and had some success in having the pre-service teacher write, reflect, or respond to the urban environment, and possibly conduct case studies on individual students, but questioned if this would work.
    My response was that the best option might be to have the pre-service teacher, and possibly a group of students complete the “story of us” activity that you all have completed for Learning Event Nine. In this activity we find an opportunity to reflect and connect with others. We also find an opportunity to document our own lives, while also advocating for problems or challenges that we all may encounter. I’m thinking that this form of knowledge construction is a necessary piece at the end of reading and reflecting about diversity, identity, and culturally responsive teaching. Perhaps the full sequence would include initial readings or exposure to a topic, followed by some hands-on experience, and finalized with an opportunity to make a story that shares and connects our perspectives. In my work, this has been about culturally responsive teaching…but the content in your class, area, grade may be different…but the model still works.

    Cover image CC BY 2.0 Archives Foundation
    Top image CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 Neil Slorance
    Middle image CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 Neil Slorance
    Bottom image CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 Neil Slorance
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