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Leveraging adolescents' multimodal literacies to promote dialogic discussions of literature in one secondary English classroom

Chisholm, James S. (2010) Leveraging adolescents' multimodal literacies to promote dialogic discussions of literature in one secondary English classroom. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Although researchers have identified the positive relationship between students' academic literacy learning and dialogic discussion—talk about texts in which students build on and transform each other's ideas—this pattern of discourse occurs rarely in most secondary English classrooms. Promising research on the varied multimodal literacies in which adolescents are engaged in their out-of-school lives suggests that these literacies may inform academic literacy practices such as dialogic discussions of literature, but little is known about how such literacies might be leveraged to make academic literacy instruction more effective. This dissertation study identified ways in which students' out-of-school and multimodal literacies could be leveraged to shape their participation in dialogic discussions of literature in one secondary English classroom. To that end, this study comprised an empirical investigation of students' participation in dialogic discussion after completing either collaborative multimodal or collaborative unimodal projects, and traced focal students' participation across small group and whole class discourse contexts to investigate whether and how student learning was facilitated through multimodality. Drawing on classroom discourse analysis and ethnographic data collection techniques, this comparative study of two sections of one 12th-grade English course explored the centrality of semiotic mediation and transmediation as these processes supported students' participation in dialogic discussions. Findings support the use of collaborative multimodal instructional activities to facilitate students' internalization of dialogic discourse norms and scaffold students' participation in discussions across discourse contexts.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Chisholm, James S.jsc36@pitt.eduJSC36
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairThein, Amanda Haertlingathein@pitt.eduATHEIN
Committee MemberGodley, Amandaagodley@pitt.eduAGODLEY
Committee MemberDonato, Richarddonato@pitt.eduDONATO
Committee MemberKiesling, Scottkiesling@pitt.eduKIESLING
Date: 12 May 2010
Date Type: Completion
Defense Date: 13 April 2010
Approval Date: 12 May 2010
Submission Date: 24 April 2010
Access Restriction: 5 year -- Restrict access to University of Pittsburgh for a period of 5 years.
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Education > Instruction and Learning
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: classroom discourse; discussion-based English language arts instruction; multimodality
Other ID:, etd-04242010-182808
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 19:42
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 13:42


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