• Multimodal meaning making with culturally responsive images: designing tasks for 6th - 8th grade special education students

      Surman, Audra Ruth Panigacungaq; Siekmann, Sabine; Martelle, Wendy; Patterson, Leslie; Moses, Catherine (2019-05)
      The following study describes the patterns that emerged from collaborative tasks among middle school students within a special education intervention class in rural Alaska. The study integrated the multiliteracies pedagogy, as well as multimodalities and task-based language teaching. The tasks utilized culturally appropriate illustrations to promote collaborative discussion throughout a structured set of five tasks. The research aims to answer the following question: How do sixth through eighth grade students co-construct meaning when doing tasks that incorporate culturally appropriate images? Three students native to the community participated in this study over a two-month period. The tasks were designed around culturally relevant illustrations allowing students to use their funds of knowledge as they collaborated to complete the tasks. The data collection included field notes, class artifacts, video and audio recordings, and student interviews. The data presented multimodal events where students utilized their semiotic resources and funds of knowledge to make meaning during each task. The analysis revealed telling incidents of multimodal meaning making moments where culturally relevant resources support the application of funds of knowledge. The analysis also uncovered critical insights for the task design variables which can impact the ending outcome and final product of a task. As a result, I encourage the use of open-ended tasks addressing multimodal teaching to encourage culturally relevant meaning making moments, particularly within special education settings.