A dialogic journey into exploring multiliteracies in translation for children and a researcher in international picturebooks

McGilp, Emma L. (2017) A dialogic journey into exploring multiliteracies in translation for children and a researcher in international picturebooks. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Printed Thesis Information: https://eleanor.lib.gla.ac.uk/record=b3269402


In today’s increasingly digitised world, we communicate both locally and globally across different languages, modes and media. Since the New London Group’s (1996) seminal ‘Pedagogy of Multiliteracies’ some twenty years ago, there have been further significant developments in the way we communicate, with the 21st century considered ‘the great age of translation’ (Bassnett 2014:1). Yet despite the increasing number of multilingual, multimodal texts we encounter, classrooms continue to teach traditional, monolingual print-based models of literacy. This research is therefore primarily in response to this rapidly evolving context, with a curiosity as to how international picturebooks might develop the skills learners need to succeed both now and in the future.

The research process has been a journey comprising two separate phases of empirical study as I have sought to find out the best way to approach this topic. My initial focus, Phase One, was exploring the visual literacy skills of EAL learners and I completed a project in a primary school in Glasgow. As a result of the emerging findings, the research then changed in two ways – to a whole class approach comprising both bilingual and monolingual learners, and to a focus on translation. Phase Two comprised two whole class projects in the Scottish Borders, with my overarching question:

How can translating both the verbal and visual in international picturebooks develop the multiliteracies learners require in the 21st century?

In my discussions of multiliteracies, I have focused on four different areas: visual, critical, digital and intercultural literacies. Learners’ visual literacy skills were developed through their recognition of the cultural codes in visuals. Their critical literacies were developed through the recognition of power in texts, through deconstructing and reconstructing texts and seeking multiple perspectives. Digital literacies were improved through the critical retrieval of information online and through using tools such as Google Translate and, like Gilster (1997), I have suggested a key component of digital literacies is having an open mind as to the possibilities of emerging technologies. I also argue that intercultural literacy should be included under the umbrella of multiliteracies, in order to provide learners with the tools to navigate the increasingly multilingual, multicultural spaces they are likely to encounter, and offer tentative findings which show how translating international picturebooks has helped to develop these skills and attitudes.

Prior to concluding the thesis, I briefly consider alternative lenses for the research, in particular Critical Race Theory, identity and translingualism. I then sum up the project in Chapter 11 and make some key recommendations, including the need for multiliteracies to be explicitly acknowledged in the curriculum and for international picturebooks, including those in the first languages (L1s) of the bilingual learners, to be introduced into classrooms to challenge the dominance of English and ‘what counts’ as reading. Alongside a discussion as to the limitations of the research and possible future directions, the thesis concludes with a call for both academics and educators to consider how the gap between research and practice might be reduced, to enable research such as this to have an impact on today’s literacy learners.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Multiliteracies, visual literacy, critical literacy, digital literacy, intercultural literacy, translation, multilingualism, bilingualism, picturebooks.
Subjects: L Education > L Education (General)
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB1501 Primary Education
P Language and Literature > PZ Childrens literature
Colleges/Schools: College of Social Sciences > School of Education > Creativity Culture and Faith
Supervisor's Name: Arizpe, Dr. Evelyn and McAdam, Ms. Julie
Date of Award: 2017
Depositing User: Mrs Emma McGilp
Unique ID: glathesis:2017-8242
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 07 Jun 2017 15:16
Last Modified: 04 Jul 2017 16:16
URI: http://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/8242

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