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Multimodal literacy
Primary school
Issue Date: 
Lim, F. V., Towndrow, P. A., & Tan, J. M. (2021). Unpacking the teachers’ multimodal pedagogies in the primary English language classroom in Singapore. RELC Journal. Advance online publication.
The ‘multimodal turn’ has led many education systems around the world to incorporate aspects of multimodality into their language curriculum as a response to the contemporary communication environment and new literacy practices of students. In this article, we present and examine findings from a study of the enactment of multimodal pedagogies by two primary level English language teachers in Singapore. Classroom data were collected, transcribed, and analysed in this case study research. We observed eight lessons by two teachers where viewing and representing skills were taught and interviewed the teachers for their reflections on their experience. The lessons were coded in terms of the classroom practices, the knowledge focus, the types of knowledge representations present (conventional or constructed), as well as the source of the knowledge representation (i.e. whether the knowledge was teacher-constructed, student-constructed or jointly constructed by both). Our findings indicate that there was a good balance between teacher and student construction of knowledge. However, most of the knowledge represented in the lessons was factual and procedural rather than conceptual. This suggests that students had few opportunities to critically explore and challenge the knowledge taught and were not guided sufficiently to interrogate the knowledge represented. Representing skills also received less emphasis than viewing skills in the lessons. We discuss the implications of our observations on teachers’ professional learning and advance the argument on the need to pay more attention to multimodal pedagogies in literacy instruction given the incorporation of multimodality in the curricula.
This is the final draft, after peer-review, of a manuscript published in RELC Journal. The published version is available online at
0033-6882 (print)
1745-526X (online)
Project number: 
DEV 01/18 VL
Grant ID: 
Education Research Funding Programme (ERFP)
Funding Agency: 
Ministry of Education, Singapore
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