Academic journal article Literacy Learning: The Middle Years

Developing Multiliteracies: A Strategic Approach Using the i.Plan Pedagogical Framework

Academic journal article Literacy Learning: The Middle Years

Developing Multiliteracies: A Strategic Approach Using the i.Plan Pedagogical Framework

Article excerpt


This Practical Strategies is based on Nea Stewart-Dore's ongoing review of the ERICA model (Effective Reading in the Content Areas), which was developed with Bert Morris and published in 1984 (see Morris & Stewart-Dore, 1984). In the 30 years since the model was developed, there has been considerable change in the types of literacies that are used on a daily basis in everyday life and in the classroom. The original ERICA model provided 'a clear step-by-step approach to the teaching of effective reading in content areas' (Morris & Stewart-Dore, 1984, p. 9), but the model was developed at a time when print, paper-based texts were the order of the day. In today's world, however, it is important for teachers to address the place of multiliteracies and how students might read and write effectively using a wide range of texts.

In extending this work, Nea developed a pedagogical framework, called i.Plan (n.d.), which offers teachers and students a model for developing multiliteracies. iPlan supports students to:

* access and build knowledge (i.e., it considers how to engage students in learning);

* interrogate meanings (i.e., to comprehend and reflect critically);

* select and organise information (i.e., to connect ideas/information and to construct understanding);

* represent knowledge (i.e., to synthesise learning).

The i.Plan model embraces multiliteracies, which Nea defined in draft form in her i.Plan papers as:

those social practices involving a range of skills, processes and knowledge that enable us to understand and construct meaning by writing, reading, speaking, listening, viewing, enacting, shaping and making in a range of media--including electronic and digital--for different purposes. (Stewart-Dore, 2003, p. 3)

This pedagogical framework deals with the complexity of multiliteracies by using four interconnected phases:


* i.think;

* i.know;


The i.Plan model caters for teachers and students. The 'i' in i.Plan refers to strategies that are simultaneously instructional and innovative. i.Plan inspires teachers to integrate multiliteracies teaching and learning strategies into their disciplinary lessons. It encourages students to be independent, autonomous, lifelong learners who read and write imaginatively and critically in diverse situations.

For students, the i.Plan provides carefully staged and scaffolded procedures for completing a range of literacy tasks competently. In doing so it addresses the place of digital technology in teaching and learning situations, and the need for students to plan to learn systematically, just as their teachers must plan to teach both explicitly and systematically (Stewart-Dore, 2003).

The i.Plan model

Each of the phases of the i.Plan model (Stewart-Dore, n.d.) has specific purposes. These are outlined in Table 1.

The phase of the model is concerned with the importance of engaging students in learning through accessing and extending the knowledge and experience they bring to the classroom. This includes reflection on what is known and how it is known.

In the i.think phase, meaning is interrogated. This interrogation includes analysis of the linguistic codes of texts. Readers form generalisations, drawing on what they know about the subject beyond the text and consider the implications.

In the i.know phase, students need strategies to select information from various sources and organise it to inform their developing understanding. Constructing graphic organisers is key to this process. Students need support to critique these representations. Knowledge of the generic features of the text and top level structures contribute to constructing understanding.

In the phase students synthesise what they know and demonstrate what they can do. …

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