Music as a Bridge to Literacy and Multiliteracies Development for Second Language Learners

Siyu Chen, University of Windsor


The purpose of this research is to explore the learning and teaching of adult learners for second language acquisition and multiliteracies advancement when music is a primary mode of instruction in the second language learning setting. This qualitative research examines the progression of language proficiency with adult English language learners (ELLs) in the language learning environment where music is used as a learning tool and delves into learners’ multiliteracies expansion when different multimodal modes combine with music in the course of English learning. Data collected from face-to-face interviews, field observations, document analysis, and original film footage are analyzed using case studies and constructive grounded theory. The multiliteracies, multimodality, and sociocultural perspectives are utilized to articulate how learners’ language literacy and multiliteracies skills develop in a learning situation that incorporates music and which multimodal modes of integration with music positively affect teaching and learning. Findings from the research suggest that learners’ exposure to music while learning English not only stimulates their enthusiasm and inspiration to invest in language learning but also fosters their capacity to embrace social diversity. Simultaneously, the range of multimodal combinations has the potential to cultivate the learners’ competence in meaning-making and communication in contemporary social life. The research offers evidence that multiliteracies and multimodality nurture the teaching and learning foundations of the second language and provide practical and effective ways in which learners can master multiple skills to adapt to the ever-changing era.