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Critical praxis, design and reflection literacy: A lesson in multimodality

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Publication date2018
Host publicationBilingual learners and social equity: Critical approaches to systemic functional linguistics
EditorsRuth Harman
Place of PublicationCham
PublisherSpringer International Publishing AG
Number of pages24
ISBN (electronic)9783319609539
ISBN (print)9783319609515
<mark>Original language</mark>English

Publication series

NameEducational Linguistics
ISSN (Print)1572-0292
ISSN (electronic)2215-1656


In this chapter, I explore a critical praxis grounded in social semiotics that is distinct from the traditions of critical literacy in a) its emphasis on the capacity to create and b) its explicit attention to the range of semiotic resources with which we communicate. Drawing on the concept of design put forward by The New London Group (1996) and more specifically Kress (2000, 2010) and on the concept of reflection literacy as described by Hasan (1996, 2005), I put forward the tenets of such a praxis before illustrating the ideas using classroom data from a national SSHRC-funded study of multiliterate pedagogies. The examples powerfully demonstrate students’ capacity to engage with and remake sophisticated meanings not only to achieve sanctioned curricular goals, though this is furthered by such work, but also for the purposes they have charted independently.