|Strategies for (Multimodal) Writing Methods (cont.)|
Suggestions for Integrating Multimodal Composing within the WMC
1). Help second career teachers articulate links between previous careers and the teaching of writing.
Because adult students learn best using problem solving techniques and when these are applicable to real-life situations, (Knowles et al. 1998) it makes sense to make connections between careers and emphasize transferability of skills (see Chambers 2002; Jenne 1996). Multimodal composing environments offer rich terrain for analysis where dictated audio memos from the workplace environment can be morphed into assignments such as class memos or audio books in the English language arts classroom. In the case of Terry who taught music, using existing knowledge of music instruction might help students record their own songs and lyrics to meet a class poetry assignment. And Sally, who currently teaches English as a Second Language courses, is poised to offer concrete examples of how idioms are perceived by non-native speakers. First career knowledge is a valuable resource in the WMC that should not be dismissed.
2). Offer a flexible learning environment.
Second career teachers often juggle their first careers while training for teaching positions, have children, care for adult parents, and experience a variety of challenges that interfere from time to time with class participation. Blair and Hoy (2006) point out that "The impact of these external influences on the adult learner can cause delays in completing assignments; these delays can quickly deplete the adult learner's motivation to not finish the assignment, and sometimes not finish the course as well" (43). As a result, the most successful assignments in the WMC are flexible assignments that allow second career teachers "to work independently and at times and locations more in tune with their individual responsibilities both on and off campus" (Post and Killian 11). A multimodal based WMC offers the perfect opportunity to be flexible as students can be taught to select the rhetorical mode that best suits their individual constraints. For one student this might be using web editing software available at another job, while for another, using a home video camera to complete an assignment might be best. In addition, if English composition faculty have historically taught students to "use all available means to communicate in a productive way," (Takayoshi and Selfe 9-10) WMC instructors can make use of the technologies non-traditional students already have access to and are comfortable with using. Not only does this choice of mode potentially alleviate stress due to time constraints, lab availability, etc, but use of available technologies beyond the campus also helps students articulate links between first and second careers and use previous knowledge.