Seeing Academically Marginalized Students' Multimodal Designs from a Position of Strength

May 25, 2017


This article examines multimodal texts created by a cohort of academically marginalized secondary school students in Singapore as part of a language arts unit on persuasive composition. Using an interpretivist qualitative approach, we examine students’ multimodal designs to highlight opportunities taken up for expanding literacy practices traditionally not available to lower tracked students. Findings examine the authorial stances and rhetorical force that students enacted in their multimodal designs, despite lack of regular opportunities to author complex texts and a schooling history of low expectations. We extend arguments for the importance of providing all students with opportunities to take positions as designers and creators while acknowledging systematic barriers to such opportunities for academically marginalized students. This study thus counters deficit views of academically marginalized students’ literacy practices by demonstrating their authoritative stance taking and enacting of layered positionalities through multimodal designs in which they renegotiated ways of knowing and doing in their classroom.

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