Multi-literacy and Student Empowerment


As a current Masters of Education student at Queen’s University with a focus on media literacy, my goal is engage in deep learning that will not only let me reflect on practice but also impact and evolve my pedagogy. As I’ve explored the meaning of teaching, learning, creativity and innovation in my most recent course Innovation in Teaching and Learning, I’ve been reminded that the key urgency of  teaching, learning, creativity and innovation is a shared ability to ensure that the student experience is not trapped in a “deficit mentality.” This mentality is the counter-thesis to “growth mindset” and is built upon a culture of indifference where students are disengaged, feel devalued and believe that learning is not for or about them. 

With this, I’m currently writing this post while listening to Dr. John Portelli from OISE’s Centre of Culture and Diversity, reflect and charge teachers with the challenge to recognize that teaching, learning, creativity and innovation is in service of equity and inclusive education. It’s within this mindset that educators work to ensure that “deficit mentality” does not take root.

Who students are matter.

Their home life matters.

Their perspective matters.

Students must be valued and empowered as a core principle of learning.

This is all to say that teaching, learning, creativity and innovation is not about the teacher but the student. As such, being a teacher is in service and is a practice of mobility that evolves over time as students (and who they are) evolve and change. As such, to teach students in 2018 in the same way as 1980 provides room for evolution of practice as it does not take into account the evolution of economy and culture and how the lives of students have changed. With this, teacher practice must change with time, patience and practice.

Within the context of literacy as an enabler of deep learning, my focus on media literacy within the framework of innovation as a mechanism that mobilizes culturally responsive teaching and learning speaks to the need for multi- literacies. In looking at literacy directly, video production as a mode of multi-literacy can be a great transformative agent that allows students to not only document learning but also share their expressive voice. Gone are the days of the singular essay, where “intelligence” is defined by the written word. In recognizing that education cannot be founded within a “one size fits all” framework, video production is just one example of a global and transferable skill that can personalize learning and empower students through a critical, creative, collaborative and communicative practice.

Below is a recently published article that I wrote that looks at the viability of video production as a critical literacy. The article, published in the Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Association Catholic Teacher Magazine highlights my teacher-teacher professional learning initiative “Shoot for the Edit.”


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For the complete December publication, please click here. Warm thanks to OECTA for giving me the opportunity to share and reflect.

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