In my time tutoring at the ESL Center, I’ve had the privilege to work with a small number of international students from Japan and China, from whom I have learned a great deal from the likes Miso as a food, to local protectionism in China. And holy crap, it has been amazing. Tutoring is not foreign to me in any regard with my prior two years of experience working with ESL students while in junior college, but in this semester here at CSU, Chico, I’ve had to overcome and match the challenge of many issues that have followed in working with these students from abroad, more than I ever even encountered tutoring at Yuba College. Surmising those challenges has been met with a great deal of multimodality, both in learning schemas, and indifferent approaches of communicating to bring a nature and precision of language from tutor to student, and vice versa. And at times, there as been the added facet of trying to understand what it is a student specifically needs help with in their assignment (Spag, Syntax, ext), as contextually, the parts of speech or prospective wording that the international students I’ve worked with have tried to transcribe to English from their native language may fail to carry the same meaning or necessary, comprehendible effect.
Whether it is from image based browser searches, to Google translate, even using Microsoft Word’s auto correct option to look at the number of possible different spellings of a word, unto writing and scribbling what we re-iterate with one another in verbal exchange to ensure we understand each other at times; all of this is multimodal means of communication, and the enumerative cogs and gears of my thought are tethered within the fascination of thinking of how all those integral acts of interpretation compound upon one another.
Digitally, I don’t honestly know how much more multimodal we could be without the vast digi-sphere of the internet and the cloud within the provided access of our tablets and smartphones, capable of processing and curating information in so many different stratas and lexicons of synthesized assimilation. What I do know, is that I would like to continue involving multimodality with the comparable that multimodal schemas and means of communication provide when working with international or ESL students, both interpersonally, and with other technical modems of use, in capacity for optimal use and advancement. It’s all one big puzzle with all these separate, yet integral, interval-ed pieces, and it’s freaking amazing. Like, I can’t put into text all of what I’m thinking about regarding multimodality in its plied potential to academia, or in the state for which we’ve already begun to use technology in a multimodal grasp, or the way that multimodality is the same as thinking of pragmatic markers within texting as a linguistic lexicon compared for its worth to more traditional, formal means of conversing in emails, letters, or essays, but it’s all there, and all of that thought is centered around multimodality.
Multimodality has even made me think of myself in my own major and path in college, too. Like in all earnest thought, I feel as competent and confident in our K-12 academia system as a Dust Bowl farmer could have been during the Great Depression. That also goes as far as if I could ever image my prospective self one day striving, or having the desire to pursue some sort of professorship or tenured teaching within the ivory tower of university, either, it would have to be with some sort of serious motivation. So no offense, to my aunt who is an elementary teacher, or anyone other the other educators and professors in my family (sorry, Grandpa Tom and Uncle Nate), but while English Education is technically my major, there was a prominent and very specific reason why I decided I would begin to apply and pursue an MBA degree in graduate school, and not a teaching credential. However, in its composition, hadn’t been for me already accepting an admission offer to an MBA program, multimodality and its application to my experience tutoring here at CSU, Chico is almost enough for me to consider why maybe I would’ve wanted to teach, or for the merit that I had saw as being so much of worth to pursue teaching English, at any specific level of education.
The real focus I want to develop further however, and pinpoint accurately, is the differing means in which multimodality is changing in its access and advance with technology, and in the way we are using both technology and traditional versus more contemporary means of multimodality to reach and work with students interpersonally within a setting such as a tutor here at CSU, Chico, or in a classroom communally, wherever such an emphasis could be applicable.
I’m also thinking multimodality may have been the greatest thing to come of the human race since the asteroid 65 million years ago that came and wiped out all of the dinosaurs.