Document Type



Institute for Educational Development, East Africa


In this article, we have made the case that multimodal pedagogies that include drawing, photography and drama have significant potential for enhancing teachers’ understanding of the way English is incorporated into students’ lives and how students can improve their understanding and use of the English language. In many ways, multimodal pedagogies represent a hybridization of indigenous and contemporary forms of communication. Drawings, as Vygotsky (1 12-1 13) notes, are children’s earliest representations of experience and stimulate their narrative impulse to create stories. By complementing such drawings with written narratives, teachers might encourage younger children to experiment not only with diverse reader identities, but also a range of writer identities. With reference to photography, it is clear that the careful and rigorous process of taking pictures of meaningful places, people and events gives children a sense of ownership over their worlds. As Norton (145-146) notes, ownership of meaning-making is crucial for the development of literacy. What makes the use of photography particularly effective is the contextual use of reading, writing, listening and speaking activities. Finally, we have argued that drama provides the opportunity for students to experiment with different forms of English, and that the writing of plays and poems used for dramatic performance complement the oral and visual dimensions of performance.


English Studies in Africa