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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Designing Meaning and Identity in Multiliteracies Pedagogy: From Multilingual Subjects to Authentic Speakers


This essay examines textual engagement of two students during a Multiliteracies lesson on a French poem (Liberté, Paul Eluard) in terms of the multilingual subject (Kramsch, 2009) and the authentic speaker (Van Compernolle, 2016). The case studies are based on personal data: (1) the students’ autobiographies written on the first day of the course; (2) the transcript of their annotated comments about the poem; (3) their essays comparing the French poem to an English translation; and (4) their retrospective analysis about the effects of the multiliteracies lesson and course. The essay begins with a review of the Multiliteracies Framework, and the concepts of the multilingual subject and the authentic speaker. Next, the essay turns to a description of the subjective experiences of the two learners. Finally, the essay illustrates how the two students filtered the poem through their own subjectivities to arrive at a new sense of multilingual authenticity.

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