A Rich Mix: What Is English? Integrating Literature, Literacy, Language and Multimodal Dimensions of Meaning-Making in the UK Secondary School English Classroom

  • Alison DouthwaiteEmail author
Part of the Multilingual Education book series (MULT, volume 30)


This chapter proposes a new tripartite model of critical voice development for secondary English literature education. It argues that English teachers need a revised, cohesive theory around criticality development that can both account for new practices with technology and mesh productively with existing disciplinary conventions. The chapter reports on attempts to meaningfully integrate iPad usage into the study of literary texts, exploring the experiences of two classes producing multimodal responses to literary texts. Drawing on Kress’ scholarship on multimodality and reader-response theories, it argues that multimodal response can increase motivation, engagement and originality by acknowledging students’ cultural agency and giving them access to a broader range of semiotic modes. It highlights ways in which task design encourages students to draw on traditional disciplinary skills. The chapter also explores how the engagement demanded by embodied approaches to learning can have an impact on students’ sense of identity and belonging in both positive and difficult ways, underscoring the social and intersubjective dimensions of literacy development. By enabling closer attention to complexity of criticality development through literary study, the tripartite model may develop our understandings of under-recognised aspects of this process, offering teachers greater scope to imagine productive new ways of working with technology in English literature classrooms.


English literature Criticality Multimodality Literacy education Secondary education Educational technology Mobile technologies Reader response 


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of EducationUniversity of BathBathUK

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