In “The Place of World Englishes in Composition,” Canagarajah asks, “What is the place of [World Englishes] in college writing?” (594), listing the many ways that World Englishes are seen as non-standard, informal, and otherwise unacceptable forms of English. He argues that should encourage students to use multiple Englishes both in process writing and in their final written products. Can, and should, we teach World Englishes in the composition classroom? What do these final products look like?
Multimodality could be an interesting framework for including World Englishes in composition settings. Because multimodal frameworks encourage multiplicity in genres, modes, and media, they could also accommodate multiplicity in languages and dialects. Situating composition in a framework that supports multiliteracies and multimodal composing could move away from simply tolerating students’ different linguistic backgrounds and move toward a classroom that supports and engages with those differences.
Say, for example, that a student does a multimodal research project about a local community center. The student could do archival research about how long the center has existed and what services they have offered over the years. She could photograph different events that the center sponsors. She could interview people who frequent the center and include those voices in the project. If the center hosts technology workshops, open mic nights, or conversational language groups, any of those perspectives could be easily represented within a multimodal project. Such a project blends genres, written and oral narratives, and literacies into a cohesive rhetorical artifact that encourages multiple voices. Is this a way that multiple Englishes can be integrated into the classroom?
Canagarajah, A. Suresh. “The Place of World Englishes in Composition: Pluralization Continued.” College Composition and Communication 57.4 (June 2006): 586-619.