Strategies for (Multimodal)Writing Methods: What Works for
Today's preservice writing teachers are now required to be competent technology users and they often have to pass a variety of state and national assessments in addition to having effective writing education strategies. As Pope rightly points out, these initiatives have added to the existing conundrum that teacher educators face--the duality of teaching the content of the courses as well as the implicit pedagogy or application of that content" (Pope 196). The writing methods course (WMC) is uniquely positioned to address these challenges, as the goal of the writing methods course is to teach future writing teachers effective methods of writing instruction, including emerging methods of multimodal composing. Furthermore, when they enter the writing methods classroom, second career teachers are training for a career in the teaching of writing at a time when the methods used to teach that writing have never been more in flux.
In fact as Takayoshi and Selfe argue, "It is fast becoming a common place that digital composing environments are challenging writing, writing instruction...such changes are both significant and far reaching--and they promise to be disruptive for many teachers of English composition" (1). Therefore the writing methods course instructor faces the daunting challenge of teaching future teachers to use multimodal composing with their own students, while the WMC instructor is also attempting to incorporate these new ways of thinking about writing.
However, the multimodal writing methods course does not have to exclude all of the features that strong second-career teacher education programs currently have. For example, "Strong midcareer preparation programs are characterized by...rigorous curriculum in ... principles of teaching and learning, classroom management, instructional strategies, curriculum development and integration, assessment of student learning, technology applications, and content pedagogy" (Resta, Huling, and Rainwater 62). While technology is one part of this equation, technologies such as films, audio recordings, web movies, and Word documents should continue to be integrated with content pedagogy for preservice teachers. In this manner, "teacher education potentially puts powerful tools of inquiry and attention-getting communication into the hands of teachers and their students" (emphasis mine) (Miller 80).
Modeling the integration of traditional and multimodal literacies within the writing methods course for preservice teachers is one way to get started because novice teachers "need to know how to help students learn to employ interactive Web 2.0 tools and to create social contexts that foster effective use of these tools" (Doering, Beach, and O'Brien 43). Sally and Terry provide additional insight in the video clips below, and a more detailed list of suggestions follows on the next page.