My research project involves looking at the ways various educators and researchers in the composition field treat writer/composer agency, personal motivation and authorship within examples of visual literacies and visual rhetoric. I want to understand more how people in composition are legitimizing non alphabetic compositions, specifically through establishing a sense of agency, which is a key point that educators strive to foster in traditional text based courses.
I was inspired mainly by Geoffrey Sirc’s chapter in WNM, Box Logic. He poses the question, via Elbow, “Do we teach to life or college?” As I am new to the composition field, I feel that trying to define/understand my purpose centers around this very question. I don’t know yet what my path will be through this program and career. I feel too green to even decide and I think that is why I am interested in the basic question of student motivation. Sirc points out that textual materials should “speak the student’s own voice and concerns, allowing them to come up with something obscure, perhaps, yet promising illumination”. I think trying to unlock those parts within a student is part of what I hope to do within my own classroom and I am interested in seeing how using a visual curriculum helps facilitate personal growth and discovery.
The New London Group proposes that giving students opportunities to practice multiliteracies will prepare them for life opportunities. By practicing a plurality of literacies and composing skills students will be better experienced for the rest of their life. By focusing on the aspect of how visual literacy (as a facet of multiliteracy) promotes personal motivation and agency for students reluctant or fearful educators can rest assured that incorporating multimodal learning into their classroom can benefit students.