The twins, in a simplistic way, resembled multiliteracies in that multivalent bonds formed between the two babies, the family, other people, and the environments in which we lived. As The New London Group writes in A Pedagogy of Multiliteracies, “The challenge is to make space available so that different lifeworlds can flourish, to create spaces for community life where local and specific meanings can be made” (16). The twins needed to explore individuality within the community they inhabited in order to establish separate and viable identities. The multivalent quality resulting from interaction among different communities shows “their boundaries [became] more evidently complex and overlapping” (17). Moreover, neither was “a member of a singular community,” and each negotiated “multiple discourse of identity and multiple discourses of recognition” (17). The twins needed proficiency in inhabiting their individual lifeworlds (17). In other words, they needed a teacher or two or more, and the first one on the scene is usually the mother.
With this analogy, I am also demonstrating some understanding of conversationalisation, which “involves institutionally motivated simulation of conversational language and the personae and relationships of ordinary life” (16). I am making a private metaphor public, appropriating my memories “to serve…institutional ends” (16). The New London Group says that the process “in part destroys the autonomy of private and community lifeworlds” (16). I disagree. The private cannot be severed from the community in that the community molds portions of the private and the private molds portions of the community.
What does this analogy have to do with framing my understanding of multiliteracies? Like most people, I think in metaphors, in analogies. To find a representative example that I am unlikely to forget means finding an access point into a new concept and a higher likelihood that that knowledge will be retained. But to be more explicit…
The existence of multiple forms of literacy—multiliteracies—seems more relevant to the understanding and teaching of “ways that allow [students] to participate fully in public, community and economic life” (9). Reading in isolation from other forms of literacy bears little relationship with the lifeworlds of many young adults in the 21st century. More apt is the wired vocal/aural/visual/tactile connection to multifarious electronic wizardry gadgets, computers included.
The New London Group’s statement on a theory of pedagogy clearly points to social constuctivism (30-31). Practical applications follow, with the charts and tables particularly helpful. I also appreciate the lists (Available Designs, Designing, and The Redesigned, 20; Design Elements, 25; Situated Practice, Overt Instruction, Critical Framing, and Transformed Practice, 35).
- Eleven years ago Lester Faigley presented his CCCC’s address (After the Revolution), and wrote: “Very simply, the Internet is not the world. Use of the Internet is even more skewed than consumption of the world’s energy resources” (39).
- For a long time people in the U.S. did not know or refused to acknowledge that oil consumption needed to be controlled. The 70s Arab Oil Embargo disappeared from communal memory (maybe Lois Lowry’s The Giver stored it for us). What kinds of unsustainable practices are we ignoring about Internet technology and its use that are likely to surface in coming generations?
- What does it mean to be computer literate (Ohmann: Literacy, Technology, and Monopoly Capital, 27)? Isn’t computer literacy really computer multiliteracies?