Through this course assignment, it became evident that students use visuals and translate in context to communicate with an audience. These strategies supported by a multimodal platform allowed students to share findings from their primary research projects and move away from standard academic English to better place themselves in their writing. The assignment was also a means for students to engage in local and global Englishes.
Students learned how to present information to diverse audiences by blending their native languages and English. While they did not depend solely on the written word when composing the multimodal compositions, their abilities to mesh their native languages and cultures with the dominant discourse proved to be a fruitful endeavor for audience members too. As a student from Japan noted, “ By including code-meshing, all presentations was [sic] interesting, and I could really enjoy students’ presentations. Code-mesh [sic] was a good idea.” Teaching students how to code-mesh offered them additional rhetorical tools to use as they continue to advance in their academic studies. While they were timid to first make use of their native languages, because they have been conditioned not to, when taught the rhetorical value of code-meshing, they all attempted to make use of the strategy in their composing processes.
After further reviewing the students’ final projects and their comments on the surveys, a major finding of this study is that students tended to slip into translating rather than creating a hybrid text and blending their native languages with English. For future classroom application, I will be more diligent in helping students make use of Canagarajah’s code-meshing strategies, specifically “envoicing,” which allows students to bring in visuals form their home countries and use other nonverbal codes and context clues. I will also present students with clearer examples of “entextualization,” so they can create texts that do not rely on simply translating. As pedagogical practices continue to evolve, and more 1.5 generation and international students enter our classrooms, offering students the opportunity to cross linguistic boundaries and share pieces of themselves will become ever more important.