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Moving Ideas

Multimodality and Embodied Learning in Communities and Schools


Edited By Mira-Lisa Katz

What does it look and feel like to communicate, create, compose, comprehend, teach, and learn with our bodies? Reaching beyond existing scholarship on multimodality and literacies, Moving Ideas expands our capacity to understand the embodied dimensions of learning and stretches our repertoires for more artfully describing them. Wresting language away from its historically privileged place at the center of social science research and practice, this collection examines the strategic layering across semiotic modes, challenging educators and researchers to revisit many of our most elemental assumptions about communication, learning, and development. The corporeal pedagogies these authors describe illuminate a powerful kind of learning that we know far too little about; in this age of accountability and high-stakes testing, failing to pay adequate attention to the promise of multimodality means forfeiting significant resources that could be used to innovatively engage people of all ages in education broadly conceived.
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To say that we read—the world, a book, the body—is not enough. The metaphor of reading solicits in turn another metaphor, demands to be explained in images that lie outside the reader’s library and yet within the reader’s body, so that the function of reading is associated with our other essential bodily functions. (Alberto Manguel, A History of Reading, p. 170)

Early one rainy Saturday morning in the summer of 1975, my father picked me up at my mom’s house, and together we drove silently across town to a yoga class at Seattle’s biggest post-secondary institution, the University of Washington. In a classroom on the third floor of an otherwise quiet building, empty desks shoved haphazardly back against the walls, we stretched ourselves out on the cool linoleum, breathing deeply as we saluted the sun hidden behind the pearly gray clouds of a faithful Northwestern sky.

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