Fairytales in Secondary English Classrooms? Exploring Multimodality, Visual Literacy and Student Resistance




Steeves, Nicole

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Abstract The overall purpose of the project was to examine how multimodal texts could be used effectively in the Secondary English classroom. The fairytale unit included in the project, which was created for an English 11 course, featured exploration of student resistance to mediated and popular culture texts through critical reading and producing of original texts. The fairytale unit reflected the theoretical and conceptual frameworks of Vygotsky’s sociocultural theory, Rosenblatt’s transactional theory, feminist theory, semiotic theory, multimodality, and multiliteracies such as visual literacy, critical literacy and media literacy. In Chapter 1 I discuss the rationale for and purpose in creating the fairytale unit as well as outline the activities and assessments that reflect the British Columbia English Language arts curriculum (British Columbia Ministry of Education, 2007). The review of relevant theories and research in Chapters 2 and 3 revealed that students need time and opportunities to foster a skill set for reading multimodal texts and explicit, framed instruction to learn how to navigate and construct multimodal texts. Review of the literature also showed that an intertextual approach to critical literacy instruction can deepen student understanding of textual representation. In Chapter 4 I outline the fairytale unit and make connections to the key theories and concepts discussed in the literature review.