International Journal of Education & the Arts

Volume 15 Number 18

October 15, 2014

A Gallery of Multimodal Possibilities in a Graduate Course on Learning Differences in Education

Cynthia M. Morawski
Kimberley Hayden
Aileen Nutt
Nikolas Pasic
Angela Rogers
Violet Zawada

University of Ottawa, Canada

Citation: Morawski, C. M., Hayden, K., Nutt, A., Pasic, N., Rogers, A., Zawada, V. (2014). A gallery of multimodal possibilities in a graduate course on learning differences in education. International Journal of Education & the Arts, 15(Number 18). Retrieved [date] from
Pertinent research literature recognizes the importance of using multimodalities to enhance and extend ways of learning across the curriculum in such subject areas as literacy, geology, media studies, physical education, social studies and disabilities studies. As an action researcher who constantly seeks ways to improve my own classroom practice, I offered multimodal opportunities to the students in my graduate class on learning differences to enhance their capacity to participate in both in-class and out-of-class assignments. Five students representing the areas of nursing, counseling, arts education, and classroom teaching, accepted my invitation to express a major assignment--a personal narrative on learning differences in multimodal forms. With feelings and thoughts ranging from skepticism to inspiration, these five students placed themselves in the vulnerable and risky space of the unknown and represented the theoretical and practical aspects of their narratives via sculptures, beaded canvases, a book of collage art and an assemblage of popular culture. Each student created a unique work woven together from prior experiences, significant readings, and specific theoretical underpinnings. They all agreed that the use of multimodalities encouraged them to draw on various elements of personal resources, such as emotion and imagination, to reconsider learning difference as a multidimensional and fluid concept. The possibilities for multimodal learning in a graduate class allowed students to hear, see, and feel each of their positions on difference while also examining collectively their individual expressions of learning differences in education.

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