Peer to Peer Multiliteracies : a new concept of accessibility

Gillen, Julia and Zeshan, Ulrike and Panda, Sibaji and Papen, Uta (2019) Peer to Peer Multiliteracies : a new concept of accessibility. In: British Association for Applied Linguistics Annual Conference, 2019-08-29 - 2019-08-31, Manchester Metropolitan University.

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In our project “Peer to Peer Deaf Multiliteracies: research into a sustainable approach to the education of deaf children and young adults in the Global South (2017-2020) (ESRC/DFID) we are working with deaf learners, teachers and research assistants in India, Ghana and Uganda. Our overall ethos is a commitment to “Real Literacies” (Street, 2012) whereby we work to identify and support learners’ already existing authentic interests and literacy practices. Our pilot project, “Peer to Peer Deaf Literacies” identified that this approach led to learner gains beyond the original focus of improvements in their English reading and writing. Engagements indeed led to measurable gains in English literacy skills for learners, but also to increased capacities in multiliteracies including Sign Language skills, metalinguistic competencies, use of online communication technologies and there was evidence of a deepening of the range of interests accessible through literacies. In the current project we have made use of this awareness of deaf multiliteracies from the beginning. Rather than view accessibility for deaf learners as a question of the provision of additional features to existing content we have built it in to project design. This is exemplified by identification of needs within the target deaf communities, through our workshops with deaf leaders, and carried on via recruitment of deaf staff, with full acceptance of the community’s culture and communication preferences (e.g. WhatsApp groups with embedded videos). Most importantly, the content itself is co-designed by deaf learners and their tutors. The UK team provides training, technical infrastructure and theoretical framing. We propose that this approach is a novel in terms of conceptualising accessibility in participatory terms and also that it brings multiliteracies fully into current reconceptions of the positive roles inclusion of deaf communities can bring to theorising multimodalities (Kusters, Spotti, Swanwick, & Tapio, 2017).

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Contribution to Conference (Paper)
Journal or Publication Title:
British Association for Applied Linguistics Annual Conference : Broadening the Horizons of Applied Linguistics
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28 Aug 2019 13:20
Last Modified:
16 Jul 2024 23:19