Informed Teaching Through Design and Reflection: Pre-Service Teachers' Multimodal Writing History Memoirs
While the literacy narrative genre has been studied in first-year composition and methods of teaching courses, investigations of the literacy narrative as a multimodal project for pre-service teachers (PSTs) of English Language Arts remain scarce. This research shares a qualitative classroom-based case study that focuses on a literacy narrative project, redesigned as a Multimodal Writing History Memoir (see Appendix 1), the first assignment in a required writing methods course in a teacher training program for English Language Arts (ELA) teachers at a large public university in the southwest. The study took place during the fall semester of 2019 with 15 ELA undergraduate pre-service English Education or Secondary Education majors. The study described here examined the implementation and outcomes of the multimodal writing history memoir with goals of better understanding how ELA PSTs design and compose multimodally, of understanding the topics and content they included in their memoirs, to discover how this project reflected PSTs’ ideas about teaching writing in their future classrooms. The memoir project invited pre-service teachers to infuse written, audio, and visual text while making use of at least four different mediums of their choice. Through combined theoretical frames, I explored semiotics, as well as pre-service teachers’ use of multiliteracies as they examined their conceptions of what it means to compose. In this qualitative analysis, I collected students’ memoirs and writing samples associated with the assignment, a demographics survey, and individual mid-semester interviews. The writing activities associated with the memoir included a series of quick writes (Kittle, 2009), responses to questions about writing and teachers’ responsibilities when it comes to teaching composition, and letters students wrote to one another during a peer review workshop. Additionally, my final data source included the handwritten notes I took during the presentations students gave to share their memoirs. Some discoveries I made center on the nuanced impact of acts of personal writing for PSTs, some of the specific teaching strategies and areas of teaching focus participants relayed, and specifically, how participants worked with and thought about teaching multimodal composition.