Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Multimodal composition as inclusive pedagogy: An inquiry into the interplay of race, gender, disability and multimodality at an urban middle school
by Whitney, Erin H., Ed.D., University of Pennsylvania, 2016, 243; 10158583
Abstract (Summary)

At a time when state standards and assessments drive educational policy and literacy is defined as print-based, students who don’t meet external benchmarks for developing skills along what is considered to be a “normal trajectory” are often seen as “at-risk” or diagnosed with learning disabilities. While there may be real variations in the ways that individuals learn, schools have a responsibility to offer a variety of pedagogical approaches in order to meet the needs of all children within an inclusive setting. This practitioner research dissertation seeks to better understand the ways that students identified as having learning disabilities create and communicate using a variety of modes including narrative writing, dance, and digital composition. Using qualitative data collected over the course of a school year while teaching full-time at an urban school with a folk arts focus, the author looks closely at the multimodal writing practices of four Black middle school girls identified as having learning disabilities. Drawing upon a theoretical framework rooted in Disability Studies/ Critical Race Theory (DisCrit) and New Literacy Studies, this study investigates the ways that students use multimodal composition to construct identities as able learners, thereby challenging deficit orientations at the intersection of race, gender and ability. By examining the artifacts that these students created over the course of an academic year as well as their reflections, and by extending a definition of literacy to include multimodal representations of knowledge, the relationships between curriculum and identity are explored. Findings reveal a complex interplay between multimodal composition and collaboration, and suggest that curriculum embedded with multiple modes for representing knowledge can create pathways to culturally relevant and inclusive pedagogy, and contribute to the construction of powerful writing identities.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Stornaiuolo, Amy
Commitee: Campano, Gerald, Collins, Kathleen M.
School: University of Pennsylvania
Department: Reading, Writing, Literacy
School Location: United States -- Pennsylvania
Source: DAI-A 78/03(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Language arts, Special education
Keywords: Arts-based education, Critical race theory, Disability studies, Multimodal literacies, Practitioner inquiry, Urban education
Publication Number: 10158583
ISBN: 978-1-369-13591-6
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