Closing the gap: A multiliteracies approach to English language teaching for 'at-risk' students in Singapore
Tan, Jennifer Pei-Ling (2008) Closing the gap: A multiliteracies approach to English language teaching for 'at-risk' students in Singapore. In Healy, Annah (Ed.) Multiliteracies and Diversity in Education. Oxford University Press, Victoria, Australia, pp. 144-167.
With its rich ethnic and language environment, Singapore offers valuable opportunities for conceptualising how Multiliteracies pedagogies can be implemented in literacy programs across various educational levels and contexts. In this multicultural and multilingual society, dominant paradigms of English literacy education raise problematic issues of the potential marginalisation of students, particularly those of lower socio-economic backgrounds and from families where English is not the first language. This book chapter will start by discussing the dynamics of language planning in Singapore and the entrenched inequities in the education system as a result of dominant language and literacy pedagogic practices. The Multiliteracies theoretical framework will then be used to explore English language teaching in Singapore. Specifically, the potential of the integrated Multiliteracies pedagogical components in resolving educational disparities among students of diverse cultural backgrounds, linguistic abilities and academic achievements will be examined. Against this background, the chapter will describe the design and implementation of a Multiliteracies project in a Singapore elementary classroom serving a student community of lower socio-economic background and academic abilities. The chapter will conclude with a discussion of the productive diversity and transformations that took place, in terms of the teacher’s attitudes and pedagogical practices, as well as students' learning outcomes, as a result of adopting a Multiliteracies approach to English language teaching and learning in a culturally and linguistically diverse classroom.
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