Category Archives: Lesson Plan

Multimodality and Multiliteracy Approach to Teaching Poetry in English Language Classroom: From Experience to Exploration

Dasarath Rai

We are aware that the unprecedented technological shift has significantly changed the way we teach and learn the English language today. Rajendrama (2020), asserts that “as societies become more globally interconnected through digital technologies, a wider and more complex range of communication modes is needed to disseminate and exchange knowledge” (p.151). From this perspective, it is important to consider that the integration of diverse communication modes in teaching and learning activities is an integral part of today’s classrooms. Furthermore, she adds, 

The communication practices of our learners today are intrinsically multimodal, as they naturally draw on multiple semiotic modes such as text, images, video, and sound to express their ideas, consume information, and create new content on social media, photo- and video-sharing websites, video gaming, podcasts, vlogs, blogs, and so on (p.151).

Multimodality is “a reciprocal connection and interplay between different communicative modes” (Song, 2012). In such an increasingly digital world, what role should the English language teachers play? Have they been able to create space for learning where the learners can equitably perceive and express their ideas through different modes? This write-up shares practical techniques for teaching poetry based on a multimodal approach in today’s increasingly digitalized world which is expected to be helpful for teachers while teaching English in different settings. 

Multimodality and multiliteracies

The application of this approach in the classroom is believed to foster learners’ ability to acquire and perceive information and linguistic elements and enhance students’ interaction, and critical thinking (Reyes-Torres & Raga, 2020). Furthermore, I believe that this approach will contribute to equitable learning opportunities for learners inheriting different learning styles. For this approach to teaching, I have used knowledge processes of multimodal pedagogy proposed by Reyes-Torres and Raga (2020), which comprises a) experiencing, b) conceptualizing c) analyzing d) applying as a means of implementing multiliteracies pedagogy in EFL (English as a foreign language) classrooms.

Historically multiliteracies pedagogy was introduced in 1996 by the New London Group (NLG) as an approach to literacy that would be receptive to the changing cultural, linguistic and communicative realities of increasingly globalized societies (Rajendrama, 2020). If so, what does multiliteracies pedagogy do? To put it simply, it is the knowledge and ability to understand and use different modes of communication. As suggested by the NLG learners can draw five different modes of communication for meaning-making. They are as follows. 

  • linguistic mode (e.g. learners home and school language, dialects, rhetorical structure)
  • visual (e.g. images, colours) 
  • audio (music, sound effects) 
  • gestural (e.g. movement) 
  • spatial (e.g. positioning of objects)

The application of different modes in teaching and learning is termed as pedagogy of multiliteracies. Reyes-Torres and Raga (2020) suggest four process knowledge construction (FPKC) based on the multiliteracies pedagogy as discussed below: 

Experiencing: it is the first step of teaching which engages learners in meaningful ways that incorporate both spontaneous reflection and lived experiences. This allows them to immerse themselves in the text and world. 

Conceptualizing: it draws students’ attention towards specific concepts and explicit instruction on how linguistic, visual, spatial layout, etc. produces meaning. It emphasizes what they should know and understand about the text. They also learn to examine what specific knowledge and skills they need in their process of inquiry and meaning-making.

Analyzing: it engages students in examining and discussing the author’s message from their perspectives.

Applying: it emphasizes the transfer of new knowledge to other situations and the production of new designs. Thus, learners, at this level, become able to apply different strategies for their learning.

Application of the FPKC framework in my context

While teaching poetry in the previous years, I would simply write the title on the board and give a general background of the poet followed by the discussion of a few questions related to the title or the poet. Thereafter, I would deal with some unfamiliar words and get a student to recite the poem. Then, I would explain every line along with rhyming patterns and figurative devices. For me, the interpretation of the text and meaning construction was more important. However, now with the application FPKC framework including multimodality helped me engage students differently in my classes. In the section below I discuss its application in relation to teaching the poem ‘Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening’ by Robert Frost.


Whose woods these are I think I know.

His house is in the village though;   

He will not see me stopping here   

To watch his woods, fill up with snow.




My little horse must think it queer

To stop without a farmhouse near

Between the woods and frozen lake

The darkest evening of the year.




He gives his harness bells a shake

To ask if there is some mistake.

The only other sound’s the sweep

Of easy wind and downy flake.




The woods are lovely, dark and deep,   

But I have promises to keep,   

And miles to go before I sleep,   

And miles to go before I sleep.


The visuals alongside the poem presented above can be used to teach students about the poem’s setting. The pictures have been chosen in alignment with the theme of every stanza. Now, let’s discuss the application of the FPKC framework in teaching the poem. 


This stage is similar to the conventional pre-reading stage which allows teachers to reach a closer understanding of students’ perspectives and prior knowledge. At this stage, teachers should develop students’ thoughts and engage them cognitively. As suggested by Reyes-Torres & Raga (2020), it can be done in two ways: a) by fostering an open conversation to initiate a process of inquiry and reflection through which they can use their previous experience and b) by directing their attention toward the text through a visual thinking strategy.

While teaching the poetry mentioned above, I followed the first strategy which is to begin the lesson with an open conversation. The following model questions were used to initiate the conversation.  

  • Have you ever encountered a similar environment or setting depicted in the picture before? If so, describe your experience orally and compare it to the image presented. 
  • Reflecting on the images, what emotion or thoughts do they stir within you? 
  • Take two minutes to write down your immediate thoughts and feelings inspired by the images. 

In the second stage, we can follow the visual thinking strategy which can be carried out as follows. 

  • Revisit the title of the poem and create a drawing that represents the imagery or concept evoked by the title. Share and discuss your visuals with your classmates.
  • Choose the images displayed and describe them in your own words paying attention to its composition, colours, textures, and overall setting. Then describe how these elements contribute to the mood or message conveyed through the text. 

Multimodal entails a combination of several channels to foster the development of students’ cognitive and linguistic abilities. This step of experiencing engages the learner’s critical thinking skills, learning to articulate their thoughts effectively, and gaining a deeper appreciation of the text. More importantly, the observation and interpretation of the pictures helped students do a close reading of other semiotic signs used in real-life situations as well as meaningful engagement with the text in due course of time. This process allowed me to leverage students’ prior knowledge and experiences to facilitate the construction and interpretation of meaning within the text.


To foster students’ ability to think and work with texts in an EFL context, we need to begin by selecting and building blocks of literacy that are important to them (Reyes-Torres & Raga, 2020), which suggests that we need to activate their knowledge and build the foundation for new learning. In this lesson, I picked up a few elements such as vocabulary, phonemic awareness, rhetorical devices, themes including author’s information. I started by presenting the author’s background through the following audio-visual. Listen to the audio carefully:

Building Concept: This audio helped learners to be aware of the way how poetry is to be recited. Furthermore, it provided them exposure to how sounds are segmented, and discriminated with the strong and weak forms of stressed and unstressed syllables. So, at this stage, I focused on the objective of raising phonemic awareness. I paused the audio and gave a brief explanation of the unit of rhythm consisting of a definite pattern. For instance, the first two lines follow the iambic foot in which every two syllables, the first is unstressed and the second is stressed.

Whose woods these are I think I know

His house is in the village though.

So making students aware of the stress, next there is linking ‘r’ which is realized as /a:r/. Why is it so? Why not /a:/ only?

Right here, I instructed students to concentrate on weak and strong forms. 

After playing the audio, the students were asked to interpret the poem in their way through multiple modes such as drawing, writing, recommending songs or composing their poems based on the theme of the poem.

Rhetorical devices and teachers’ intervention: At this point, I was concerned about constructing the meaning of the text by addressing the responses of the students as well as leading them to the implicit linguistic elements used in the poem or the use of the words to express meaning beyond the literal meaning of the words themselves.

Figurative Language

Personification: woods are lovely dark and deep

Symbolism: the woods, the dark evening

Imagery: his house is in the village though

Repetition: and miles to go before I sleep, And miles to go before I sleep

Irony : but I have promises to keep

Teachers need to take into account the essential aesthetic nature of not only the knowledge of formal properties but also to ignite the students’ intellectual understanding as well as their emotional engagement with the text (Reyes-Torres & Raga, 2020). The discussion on this figurative language raised curiosity in learners about the artistic use of language. Thus, I guided them to compose their poems, make sentences, write songs, and speeches, make charts, sketch drawings, collect pictures etc.


The third knowledge process of multiliteracies pedagogy aims to relate textual and visual meaning with social, cultural, and ideological content and purposes (Reyes-Torres & Raga, 2020). The main goal is to have students interpret the reading from different points of view and learn to understand a particular voice, its position, motivation and concerns. To do so, I encouraged learners to discuss the author’s perspective, the emotions it triggers, implicit and explicit meaning and finally the relevance of different themes. 

Therefore, in this stage, I generated different themes of the text which are relatable to students’ lives. 


Theme 1. Isolation and solitude: Why do you think the narrator stops in the middle of the forest without a farmhouse nearby? What do you think the remote area represents? What kinds of feelings grow in your mind when you imagine such a place? Share your opinion.

Theme 2. Responsibility and Duty: What does the line, ‘miles to go before I sleep mean’? Present your opinion. Discuss that duties and responsibilities are far more important than our transient desires and pleasure. We may happen to


think that this very experience is our reality but we have far to go before we finally close our eyes. Present your opinion.

Theme 3. Nature and Tranquility: What is the setting of the poem? Recall some lines of the poem that bring a vivid image to your mind.

In this section, I scaffolded students to break down the poem into different themes to develop their analytical skills and relate that with their lives. For instance, the lines, “miles to go before I sleep” instilled the knowledge of duties and responsibilities of their own. And this is exactly where facilitation is needed. In this way, “teachers relate textual and visual meaning with social, cultural, and ideological content and purposes with the students” (Reyes-Torres & Raga, 2020, p. 113).


Connecting textual content with students’ lives is one of the ways of understanding the aesthetic of reading and constructing meaning and the application of knowledge further strengthens their learning. In doing so, I needed to have well-defined objectives before starting the lesson. It demanded extensive reading, a deeper level of thinking and contemplation on how this information helps students face worldly challenges. I, therefore, needed to develop ways in which students could carry out new practice in the new contexts. In order to facilitate the application of the knowledge in the poem, I discussed the following questions:

  • How does the speaker’s description of the woods in the poem make you feel? Can you relate it to a time you’ve experienced something similar in nature? 
  • If you were in the same situation as the speaker in the poem, what decision would you make? Why? 
  • Imagine you are in the middle of the woods, how would the scene change if it were a different season, like summer or fall? 
  • Can you find another poem where a character faces a similar decision to stay or move on? Compare and contrast the two situations.

These questions challenge them to go beyond recalling information and engage in the poem more critically. They also promote critical thinking and creative expression, allowing them to connect the poem to their own life experiences and perspectives. 

Exploration and insights

The application of the FPKC frame and multiliteracies pedagogy has left some footprints in the course of my professional life which can be discussed as follows. 

  • Set clear level-wise objectives: This approach to teaching helped me to set clear level-wise objectives for the lessons from the experience to the application. The taxonomy of objectives helped me to teach students on how they could achieve higher levels of knowledge such as analysis and application. Furthermore, it made me clear what to facilitate and how to facilitate. For instance, in the conceptualization phase, I played the audio in the class which would add variety. Along with the audio, I was concerned about raising phonemic awareness in the learners focusing on stressed and unstressed syllables.
  • Integration of varied activities: The application of this framework allowed me to employ different activities in my classroom. I have used multiple modes such as questions for discussion, thematic pictures to stimulate learners, audio for building phonemic awareness, allowing students to draw pictures to express their ideas and creating situations where the students apply the acquired knowledge to a new setting. This helped me to guide the students in meaningful engagement with the text. 
  • Create space for expression and perspectives: In all phases of the framework, students were actively engaged within the poem. They expressed their ideas and perspectives either through writing answers to the questions, listening to the audio or drawing pictures related to the topic and expressing their opinions verbally. This technique created an environment where student’s minds, bodies and souls were activated.
  • Foster learner’s autonomy: The multimodal approach to teaching contributed to learner’s autonomy as well. This framework helped me to create opportunities for my students to think and work independently. They also demonstrated confidence in going beyond the lines to interpret the poetic expressions relating with their lives. 


My blog attempted to bridge the theories with classroom practice by demonstrating the application of four process knowledge construction (FPKC) framework based on the multiliteracies pedagogy through a poetry class in high school. It created room to integrate varied activities and modalities of expression (written, oral, visuals, audio-visuals modes), offered space for critical thinking and expressing their perspectives and fostered learner’s autonomy creating equitable learning in a diverse classroom setting. Thus the balanced use of multiliteracies in teaching-learning leverages English language learning, communication skills, critical thinking and aesthetic development. 

Author: Dasarath Rai teaches English at Ideal Model School, Dhobighat, Lalitpur. He has earned Master’s Degree in English Education from Mahendra Ratna, Campus, Tahachal, Kathmandu. He is interested in teacher professional development, multiculturalism, cultural identity, and materials development in language education.


Rajendram, S. (2020). A pedagogy of multiliteracies and its role in English language education. In Contemporary foundations for teaching English as an additional language (pp. 151-187). Routledge.

Reyes-Torres, A. & Raga, M.P., (2020). A multimodal approach to foster the multiliteracy pedagogy in the teaching EFL through picture books: The Snow Line. (42) 49-199. DOI: 

Song, J. (2012). Teaching multiliteracies: A research based on multimodality in a PPT presentation. Theory and Practice in Language Studies, 2(1), 113-117.

Teaching Language Functions as a Broader Concept

Mandira Adhikari

As a student, I learned English largely through Grammar Translation method, but when I studied the subject “ELT Theories and Methods” in the university, I became aware of much better methods for teaching English. As a result, when I started teaching, I was able to teach my students by using communicative and other methods. I used language functions as a key concept to teach communicative skills, and I found teaching language function very much helpful to develop the other language skills of my students and after a short period of time they were able to speak in English. However, when I studied advanced ELT Methods in Kathmandu University, I began to wonder if role play is sufficient for teaching language functions? Are there other alternative methods for it? How can I develop other skills with the help of language functions?

What are language functions?

In order to do anything with and through language, we take help of the certain exponents of language. The purpose of language use is called language function. As Blundell, Higgens & Middlemiss (2010) state, we only speak or write with a purpose in mind: to help someone to see our point of view, perhaps or to ask their advice or to reach agreement with them.  The functional use of language is not only based on certain language structure or grammatical rules, it is how we understand the context and use the language in order to fulfill those purposes. For example, sentences in the imperative form may perform a variety of different functions:

Give me your book. (Order)
Pass the pen, please. (Request)
Turn right to the corner. (Suggestion)
Come to visit us on Saturday. (Invitation)

The above exponents are used by the speaker of language in different situations. Thus, language function refers to the purpose for which an utterance for which a form of language is used as a means of communication.

Stages of teaching language functions

Teaching language function is very similar with teaching grammar. There are three stages of it. The three stages are described below:


This is the first stage of teaching language function. In this stage, the teacher presents a language function either in a dialogue form or by creating context. S/he holds discussion with the students regarding the possible exponents for the language function to be taught. This stage can also be taken as a pr- communicative activity as it is a pre-step to develop communicative activity. Some of these activities are; Contextualization, Description of the social settings of the language use, Motivation and preparation, Identification of the participants, Setting, Acting emotion, determining purpose etc. Doff, Jones & Mitchell (1997) says “This stage is concerned with controlled practice of a new language. It ranges from simple manipulation of structures to more imaginative practice in which students use language in real life situation” (p. 9)

Thus, in pre- communicative activity, the teacher creates the context and provides description on where to use such language function or in which situation.


At this stage, the students are given opportunity to practice language function presented. For this purpose, they may be involved in pairs to conduct mini – dialogues. They practice the language function by means of mechanical, manipulative or communicative drills. In this stage, they mainly memorize as well as learn how to use different exponents and realize their meaning.


This is the last stage of teaching a language function which focuses on using the new language function, in free or real life situation. Richards (2006) says that students practice using the new structures and in different context often using their own content or information in order to develop fluency with the new patterns. Thus, this stage focuses more on the fluency of the language rather than accuracy. Thus, this stage is also known as communicative stage. In this stage, students can be asked to work in pairs or a small group to share the ideas. Some of the activities of this stage are; mini- exchange, role plays, oral games, guessing games, interviews etc. (Note: An example of teaching language function for class nine students using these three steps are presented in appendix).

Some other activities for teaching the language functions

Though the P-P-P model is very popular in teaching language function, it is criticized for being limited in certain functions. (Skehan (1996), as cited in Richards (2006) says “The underlying theory for a P-P-P has now discredited. The belief that a precise focus on a particular form leads to learning and automatization”. Thus, only the three stages of presentation practice and production is not sufficient for teaching language function.  Role play is very popular activity to develop language function. More than role play, there are other activities which are very helpful to teach language function. As it is very similar with teaching grammar, we can utilize the techniques of teaching grammar for teaching language function. Ur. (2003) has presented different types of grammar practice such as: awareness, controlled drills, meaningful drills, guided or meaningful practice, discourse composition and free discourse. Among these activities, drills, discourse composition and free discourse are really helpful to teach language function because while writing the discourse students should use different language functions that are used in our daily life. Highlighting the focus on meaning and situation of language used, Doff (2010) says that there is a way to show meaning through a situation i.e. to think of a situation from outside the class, in which the structure could naturally be used which may be real or imaginary. So, a teacher can create a context and ask students to use different language functions in those contexts which also can be a technique of teaching language function. Moreover, some other techniques of teaching grammar are presented below:

Information gap activities

It is an activity in which a learner knows the information but other does not know.  It is necessary for communication to occur so that the listener actively decodes and reacts. Then the listener speaks becoming the informants for a while. Some of the information gap activities are; discovering missing information, discovering secrets, the role of customer and shopkeeper.

Pair work or group work

The teacher can provide a situation and language function and ask students to discuss that situation and develop dialogues according to the context and present it in front of the class.

Strip story

Strip story is a technique of presenting a story part- wise in a small slips of paper called strips. This activity is also helpful to develop communicative activity among the students because students need to discuss in pairs where there can be interaction, thinking and sharing. While sharing the ideas they need to use different language function such as describing, negotiating meaning etc. students also develop problem- solving activity from this technique.

Communicative drill

This is also a technique which is very helpful in teaching language function. It is a type of drill in which the type of response is controlled but the students provides his or her own content of information. For example:

Teacher                                                                                    Student

What did you do after breakfast?                                           I —————

Say how you greet to your teacher in the morning.                    ————————–

Thus, this type of drill is also very useful to develop communicative skill of the students and can be used as a technique to teach language function.

Problem Solving

The teacher can provide a problem in groups so that they should have to do lots of interaction and while interacting with their friends they should use different language functions. For e.g.; requesting, description, questioning, refusing etc. thus, this is also a helpful technique to teach different language functions.

Communicative Games

Communication games are designed to provoke communicative activity among the learners. For e.g. oral games, guessing games, solving the puzzles etc. they are very helpful to teach language function as well as to motivate learners towards learning.

Oral Speech (telling stories or experiences)

While sharing experience or the story among the students, they need to use different types of language function which is more helpful to develop the use of language function. Thus, it is also a technique to develop communicative skill of the language with the help of language function.

Developing other language skills

Teaching language functions is very helpful to develop other language such as: listening, speaking, reading and writing.  When we are teaching a language function we can develop other language skills as well and it is the most important aspect of language to develop other language skills.

The main aim of language teaching is for communication and communication of language can be developed when we learn to use language in different context and language function is the way to develop communication among the learners. My experience as I have presented above also shows that teaching language function can help developing speaking skill of the learners. Similarly, above mentioned methods not only help in developing speaking skill but the other skills as well. For e.g. when we are using strip story technique students should speak in order to communicate with their friends as well as they should develop a story based on the strips so that they will use different language functions while writing. They should listen the response of their friends as well as it may be necessary sometimes to read in order to complete the task.


The basic model of teaching language function can be the P-P-P model as in grammar teaching which means presentation, practice and production. Any language function can be taught being based on this model in an effective way. Regarding the techniques of teaching language function, role play is a very popular technique however; there are other techniques such as: strip story, communication games, communicative drill, oral speeches, information gap activities, pair work or group work etc. We can use these methods to teach language function to our learners. Moreover, while teaching language function to our learners we can develop other language skills as well.


Doff, A. (2010). Teach English. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Doff, A., Jones, C., Mitchell, K. (1997). Meanings into words (teacher’s book). New York: Cambridge University Press.

Richards, J.C. (2006). Communicative language teaching today. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Ur, P. (2010). A course in language teaching. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Critical Thinking Lesson Plan Sample

Critical Thinking Lesson Plan

DESIGNER’S NAMES:Sajan Kumar Karn  (Nepal)Uzma Arshed (Pakistan) Type of course the Lesson is planned for (i.e. low-intermediate reading course for 16-year-old high school students): Low-Intermediate
Title of Lesson: My Heart Leaps Up When I Behold (A Poem by William Wordsworth) Length of lesson:45 Minutes
I.  Overarching goal of the lesson: This lesson aims to expose students to the creative use of language and to develop creative writing ability in them.
II. Prerequisites.  These are assumptions you are making about your students’ skills, knowledge, and experience for this lesson.  At the beginning of this lesson, students are expected to know or Should have experienced:

  1. What poetry is and its basic elements are
  2. Who Wordsworth was
  3. What a paradox is
  4. Rainbow after rain
  5. Nature and its human’s association with it
  6. Difference between concrete and abstract language within poetry.
  7. Poetry is different from prose
  8. Knowledge about similes and metaphors


III. Instructional Objectives for the lesson: Please write 2 explicit critical thinking objectives.  Be sure to use the ABCD (Audience-Behavior-Condition-Degree) model. Bloom’s domain and level CT Strategy(No more than 2 per objective)
1.  Given the poem, students will summarize the main ideas, explaining the paradox ‘The child is the father of the man’ and conveying the poet’s intent in a paragraph. Cognitive, Analysis Level  S-21 reading criticallyS-32 making plausible interpretations
2. Given the poem, the students will be able to compose a nature poem in two stanzas. Cognitive, Synthesis(Create) S-12 Developing One’s Perspective: Creating or Exploring Beliefs, Arguments, or Theories 
IV.  Lesson Description—This may include pre-, during, and post-activities, steps, or techniques that the students are doing.  Please cite ideas that you have included from Week 4 or Week 5 readings by indicating the author’s last name next to the activity or approach.  (You do not need to cite the 35 strategies list.)Pre-reading activities:

  1. 1. Set some pre-questions(Duron, Limbach & Waugh, 2006)

Teacher (T) shows the picture of rainbow and asks students (Ss) questions such as ‘What does the picture contain? Have you seen it earlier? Does it make you happy, if yes, why? Have you read any poem by William Wordsworth? What was the theme of the poem? etc.

  1. T asks the Ss to guess the meaning of the title individually.
  2. T helps Ss with difficult words such as piety etc.
  3. T asks the Ss to read about the introduction of the poet given in the book and ask a few questions such as, where was William Wordsworth born? What does he mean by poetry? What was his relation with nature? And so on.
  4. T asks the Ss to think and say what the poem is about and also for their reactions on it.

While-reading activities

  1. T asks the Ss to read the poem and find the words for the meanings such as deep respect, see, jump,
  2. T asks them to find the most unusual sentence in the poem. Tell them that it is a paradox( a controversial statement with some truth)
  3. Divide the students into 3 groups and assign them the task (Jones, 2004) and asks them to work on three tasks- summarizing the poem in one sentence, guessing meaning of the paradox “The child is the father of the man” in the poem and guessing the intent of the poem.
  4. T asks each group to make a sentence using these three pairs of words. (child-past, father-outcome, man-present)
  5. T tries to derive the meaning of the paradox from the students “The present is the outcome of the past and consequently the future will be the outcome of the present”.

Post-reading activities

  1. T divides the students into pairs and asks them to fill in the blanks on their own and share with their mates.
    1. The poem is about………………..
    2. The poem makes us realize that………………….
    3. The poet pays deep respect for…………………….
    4. The poem recollects……………………………………..
    5. According to the poet, nature is the source of ………
    6. T asks the Ss to discuss amongst their group members “A child shows a man as morning shows the day”.
    7. T assigns the Ss homework to compose a poem on nature (Encourage Creativity, Schneider, 2002).
V.  Continued development of critical thinking — No one lesson is going to fully cultivate critical thinking.  Based on the Lesson Plan, describe specific ideas for on-going development of critical thinking, such as student activities or techniques and/or teaching strategies or approaches.  These are broad terms, used in different ways.  They are intentionally general to encourage you to think creatively about further development of critical thinking.Through this lesson we would like to develop in our students

  1. The ability of guessing(reasoning)
  2. Questioning and respecting others’ views
  3. Discussing among group members and reaching a logical conclusions
  4. Encouraging students to compose a poem(creating)