Advancing English Language Learning in China through Multimodal Content Area Teaching

Cheryl North, Nancy Rankie Shelton


During a ten-day teaching abroad experience in China, eight teachers from the United States implemented an interactive curriculum focusing on disciplinary literacy and authentic tasks.  Employing multiliteracies and kidwatching, teachers encouraged Chinese students to compose while focusing primarily on communicating ideas rather than grammatical correctness.  This article provides a one-student case study that serves as a representative example of the growth of 50 elementary-level students involved in the experience.  Initially, Paul focused on writing correctness in response to prompts; his compositions were short and provided little detail.  After we provided multimodal and interactive authentic experiences and encouraged risk-taking, Paul's representative compositions became more detailed and complex.  The implications for engaging in this type of teaching experience underscore the benefits of providing students with authentic experiences that are multimodal and interactive while simultaneously encouraging risk-taking.  The pedagogical growth that teachers made working with ELL students is also discussed.



Multimodal, English as a Foreign Language, Kidwatching, Authentic literacy, English as a Second Language

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