Multiliteracies is a term coined by the New London Group.[1] Because the way people communicate is changing due to new technologies, and shifts in the usage of the English language within different cultures, a new "literacy" must also be used and developed.

There are two major topics that demonstrate the way multiliteracies can be used. The first is due to the world becoming smaller, communication between other cultures/languages is necessary to anyone. The usage of the English language is also being changed. While it seems that English is the common, global language, there are different dialects and subcultures that all speak different Englishes. The way English is spoken in France, or in South Africa or any other country is different from how it is spoken in the US.

The second way to incorporate the term multiliteracies is the way technology and multimedia is changing how we communicate. These days, text is not the only and main way to communicate. Text is being combined with sounds, and images and being incorporated into movies, billboards, almost any site on the internet, and television. All these ways of communication require the ability to understand a multimedia world.

Application of Multiliteracies to the real world

Due to changes in the world, especially globalization and an increase in immigration, a debate has arisen about the way students are instructed and learning in school. English, and all subjects, should evolve to incorporate multimodal ways of communication. The New London Group (1996) proposes the teaching of all representations of meaning including, linguistic, visual, audio, spatial, and gestural, which are subsumed under the category of multimodal. A pedagogy of multiliteracies includes a balanced classroom design of Situated Practice, Overt Instruction, Critical Framing and Transformed Practice. Students need to draw on their own experiences and semiotic literacy practices to represent and communicate meaning.

See also



  • The New London Group (1996) "A Pedagogy of Multiliteracies: Designing Social Futures" Accessed 05/07
  • Cope, B. & Kalantis, M. (Eds.) (2000) Multiliteracies: Literacy Learning and the Design of Social Futures. Routlege: London.
  • "Putting Multiliteracy to the Test" Accessed 4-23-07
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