Developing Students' Critical Voices Through The Discussion of Literature: An Investigation Into The Pedagogical Affordances of Using iPads To Enable Student Production of Multimodal Responses to Literature

  • Alison Douthwaite

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisPhD


This study focuses on the development of students’ critical response to literature during Secondary English Literature lessons. It seeks to understand the pedagogical affordances of multimodal response using iPads, during the study of canonical literary texts.
Though technology is changing the way we communicate and interact, the UK’s Secondary National Curriculum for English makes no mention of modern modes of communication and constructs a very traditional view of Literary study. While touch-screen tablets are readily available in many Secondary Schools, English Literature teachers do not have a coherent rationale for using them productively and research into their pedagogical affordances is only just emerging.
This Action Research study was undertaken in collaboration with a Secondary English teacher and her Year 10 class over the course of two terms. Viewing visual and embodied modes of response as expressions of voice to be considered alongside the classroom talk, this analysis draws on rich and varied data generated during the teaching episodes, to analyse critical voice development.
I demonstrate that collaborative multimodal response on iPads has important potential pedagogically, in terms of:
• Encouraging students to work with allusive, symbolic and metaphorical meanings which are key aspects of literary language and critical voice development
• Supporting intersubjectivity and dialogic engagement
• Helping students to draw on and externalise tacit knowledge
This has implications for the development of pedagogy in English Literature education in contemporary classrooms and offers insights into the use of multimodal response to develop more dialogic interaction in the Secondary Literature classroom.
Date of Award1 May 2020
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Bath
SupervisorDavid Skidmore (Supervisor) & Rita Chawla-Duggan (Supervisor)


  • Dialogic Pedagogy
  • Multimodal Composition
  • English Education
  • Multimodality
  • Reader Response
  • Digital Technology
  • Literacy
  • Classroom Interaction

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