Multilits Project

PresentationLiteracy in an additional language becomes a survival kit for people who want to find a new life in another country, but not all adults are fully literate. This lack of literacy can lead to social exclusion. The multimodal approach and multiliteracies pedagogy could be a possible strategy to better understand the needs of adult migrants with low literacy skills and to prepare future language teachers to work with such multilingual learners in hybrid or online contexts. Moreover, the literacy process today demands an increasingly multimodal approach. Meaning is no longer only accessed, or created, through written media, but interacts with audiovisual, spatial, gestural, etc. modes of communication.

The main objectives of our study are twofold: on the one hand, to identify the needs of young adults with low literacy skills in the language of the country in which they live and to describe their multiple literacy profile. On the other hand, to analyse prospective language teachers' beliefs about the needs of low-literate learners and to document possible change in beliefs and performance in meeting the challenge of mediating and supporting low-literate learners by designing multiliteracy practices for these culturally and linguistically diverse learners.

In doing so, we start from four main assumptions:

  1. that research on inclusivity usually focuses on vulnerable populations who have been socialised in a different/foreign context, but rarely on the members of society who really need to work towards inclusivity, in our case, prospective language teachers.

  2. that training future language teachers in mediation strategies (as described in the CEFR companion volume, 2020) could be a useful way of educating them to be more aware of their individual possibilities, of their socio-emotional competences to create a more inclusive society.

  3. that multi-literacy or the ability to interpret, create and communicate meaning through a variety of visual, oral, bodily, musical and alphabetic forms of communication is beneficial for university student-teachers who want to become language teachers, but also for students with low literacy skills.

  4. that ignoring multiliteracies exposes illiterate adults to an even greater risk of marginalisation.