Research Talk by Dr. Lynde Tan

Date & time:

Wednesday, 12 Oct 2011, 15:30 – 16:30.


CNM Playroom, AS6, #03-38

11 Computing Drive

Singapore 117416

Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences

National University of Singapore

Google Map:


Adolescent Literacies, Multimodal Textual Repertoires, and Digital Media: Exploring Sites of Digital Literacy Practices and Learning Inside and Outside School


In this presentation, I would like to suggest the use of the term multimodal textual repertoires to emphasise the relevance of New Literacy Studies (NLS) in studying adolescents’ multimodal literacy practices. Drawing on ethnographic research in ten adolescents’ school and out-of-school literacy practices in Singapore, I explain my use of the term and argue that adolescents’ multimodal textual repertoires, in and out of school, comprise the collective assembly, production on the go, multitasking and fun. This study involved participant observations in school, in-depth and semi-structured interviews, analysis of students’ school productions as well as other qualitative methods of collecting outside-school data, such as participants’ research diaries, self-taken photographs, students’ cultural artefacts and visual methods of finding out adolescents’ everyday literacies.

I discuss how these 14-year-old adolescent students in my study engaged in school collaborative multimodal and multimedia text productions. Specifically, I argue that literacy practices may be best understood as a complex configuration of school and home practices which cannot be easily disaggregated into separable school and home practices. Whilst my study suggests that literacy and learning are inseparable in social practice regardless of the sites of their occurrences, it also attends to the tension in adolescents’ identities in learning.


Dr. Lynde Tan is a lecturer at the Learning Sciences and Technologies Academic Group, NIE/NTU, Singapore. She has recently completed her PhD in Applied Linguistics at Lancaster University, United Kingdom, where she is researching adolescents’ digital literacies in and out of school. Before joining NIE, she was an Educational Technology Officer at MOE HQ where she supported teachers in using emerging technologies for teaching and learning. Her current research interests lie in literacy studies pertaining to digital literacies in and out of school, language education as well as multimodality in English texts.

Selected publications:

Guo, L.B., Amasha, S., & Tan, L. (2010). Multimodal Literacy In Extended Learning Activities. In Ho,C., Anderson, K., & Leong, A. (Eds.), Transforming Literacies And Language: Multimodality And Literacy In The New Media Age (pp. 70-84). London: Continuum.

Tan, L. (2010). Putting the cart before the horse: Interrogating media literacy education in school English lessons. New Horizons in Education, 58(3), 67-77.

Tan, L., Bopry, J. & Guo, L. (2010). Portraits of new literacies in two Singapore classrooms. RELC Journal, 41(1), 5-17.

Tan, L. & Guo, L. (2009).  From print to critical multimedia literacy: A Singapore teacher’s first foray into new literacies practices. Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy, 53(4), 315-324.

Tan, L., Guo, L., & Chia, A.L. (2009).  Teaching English in new times. In P. Teo, M.Y. Tay, & C. Ho (Eds.), Exploring new frontiers: Challenging students in the language and literature classroom (pp. 15-29). Singapore: Pearson Longman.

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