The Impact of Social Networking and a Multiliteracies Pedagogy on English Language Learners’ Writer Identities
Keywords:writing, English Language Learners, Social Networking Sites, Ning, multiliteracies, identity, poetry
This study examined the impact of using a multiliteracies pedagogy and the social networking site (SNS), Ning, to help 6th grade English language learners (ELLs) develop their writer identities, with the purpose of increasing the students’ confidence, sense of self, and language and literacy skills. To this end, we were interested in whether and how the development of a writer identity and an increase in social presence on the Ning would translate into face-to-face connections in the physical classroom and an induction into the academic learning community – a space in which the students may have previously felt intimidated. In doing this, we employed a qualitative case study analysis to investigate the experiences of two ELLs at an elementary school in Toronto, Canada. Our study found that incorporating multimodal tools and an SNS allowed the students to more freely express themselves; to share their work and their personalities with peers, which made the writing assignments more meaningful and engaging; and provided a platform for students to negotiate their values and beliefs. Ultimately, the increased interactions with peers online and the development of this new English-language literate identity translated into the development of students’ individual voices, a sense of ownership of English, and an increased social presence in the classroom.
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