Major Papers


adult English additional language learners, Canada, multiliteracies, multimoalities, anti-oppressive practices


Canada has recently seen an influx of newcomers who do not speak either of Canada’s two official languages—English and French—many of whom are adult English additional language learners (EAL). Though there are numerous studies on how to support young EAL learners, there is a dearth of literature on adult EAL learners, which is critical as the two populations have drastically different cognitive processes with respect to language learning. Thus, by analysing a critical literature review, the current study considers how multimodal practices and multiliteracies approaches can support this population. Anti-oppressive practices are likewise applied to identify the barriers that students may encounter in the classroom. The study concludes that incorporating the arts—specifically auditory practices that include music and visual learning strategies that include painting and image-rich content—can support adult language learners. Specific strategies that have proven to be effective include the use of song with strong rhythm and rhyme, dance, painting exercises, videos, video journals, highlighting and colour coding words, and technology-based engagement. When using these, it is proposed that teachers should focus on developing learners’ metalinguistic vocabulary to allow them to effectively cognize about the language process and give students the tools to understand elements of word structures, such as suffixes, to allow them to identify the meanings of words based on their context and structure. Teachers should also engage in critical self-reflection and solicit student input when designing lesson content. To ascertain the effectiveness of such approaches, future research should focus on experimental studies that compare traditional and multiliteracies classrooms, and qualitative and longitudinal studies to identify the nuanced ways that students engage with multiliteracy practices and their long-term impact on adult EAL learners.

Primary Advisor

Terry Sefton


Clinton Beckford

Program Reader

Terry Sefton

Degree Name

Master of Education



Document Type

Major Research Paper

Convocation Year


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