Language Education and Multiliteracies

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Introduction: Initial Development of the ‘Multiliteracies’ Concept

In September 1994, the Centre for Workplace Communication and Culture at James Cook University of North Queensland, Australia, initiated an international project to consider the future of literacy teaching: what would need to be taught in a rapidly changing near future, and how it would be taught. The Centre invited some of the world's leaders in the field of literacy pedagogy to come together for a week in the small town of New London, New Hampshire, USA, in order to consider the ‘state of the art’.

As it turned out, there were multiple ironies in the very idea of New London. By the end of the twentieth century one billion people spoke that difficult little language, English, spoken four centuries before by only about a million or so people in the vicinity of London, old London. The story of the language, and the story of the last few centuries, including