Critical Literacy

I hope all of you have had an opportunity to look at the content at the link to this Australian site I shared on last week’s agenda. Additional resources at this site are well worth our attention. Please print and include in your 541 working class binder.

Below is an excerpt from the site that suggests key “moves” a critical reader makes. Note the reference to “action” in/on the world which Freire (and others) calls praxis, a key term important to Marxist thought.

Both Appleman and Tyson’s discussions of feminist and Marxist theories convey how critical literacy becomes operational when young readers have more tools to critique texts at their disposals.

As you plan your unit, this content will be extremely helpful.

From the Au site–Critical Literacy includes:

• examining meaning within texts
• considering the purpose for the text and the composer’s motives
• understanding that texts are not neutral, that they represent particular views, silence other points of view and influence people’s ideas
•questioning and challenging the ways in which texts have been constructed
• analysing the power of language in contemporary society
• emphasising multiple readings of texts. (Because people interpret texts in the light of their own beliefs and values, texts will have different meanings to different people.)
• having students take a stance on issues.
• providing students with opportunities to consider and clarify their own attitudes and values.
• providing students with opportunities to take social action.

Do share insights from your reading of this content. How clear do you find the explanation? What understandings are important for you here? How is the notion of critical literacy embedded in what we call critical pedagogy? What is the relationship between critical pedagogy and teaching for social justice?

How is the unit you are creating informed by a critical pedagogy? And how are students positioned by your essential question (s) to do critical “work” with texts? KES


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