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Critical Literacy

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Tiffani Montelione

on 22 April 2010

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Transcript of Critical Literacy

Critical Literacy Definitions Critical literacy: the ability to read texts in an active, reflective manner in order to better understand power, inequality, and injustice in human relationships

Texts: a “vehicle through which individuals communicate with one another using the codes and conventions of society” (songs, novels, conversations, pictures, movies, etc. are all considered texts)
Why should a student become critically literate? •They can explore and construct their own knowledge
•They can make sense of the parts they play in the world
•Students can find their individual voices

What can a critically literate student do? •Uncover social inequalities and injustices
•Interrogate social conditions significant to their lives
•Critically analyze and transform texts
•Appreciate, enjoy and learn from experience with texts
•Interpret messages and challenge those messages
•Participate in society based on the information they discover
•Reflect on readings
•Discover alternative paths for self and social development
What can a teacher do to help his/her
students become critically literate? •Serve less as instructors and more as facilitators
•Create spaces where students can teach and teachers can learn
•Encourage students to question issues of power (socio-economic status, race, class, gender, sexual orientation)
•Connect the curriculum to the outside world in a tangible way
•Provide students with multiple viewpoints of an issue
Students Students are not vessels to be filled…you need to create
experiences that offer opportunities to actively construct knoweldge. What to do in the classroom… •Social Action Projects: relate the curriculum to the world beyond the walls of the school
•Read multiple texts from different perspectives
•Conduct research about topics of personal interest
•Challenge students to take social action
•Have literature circles or book clubs to involve students in discussion about the novel, opening dialogue for diverse perspectives
•Produce counter-texts in reading logs, journals, weblogs, personal narratives, and/or student-created videos enabling students to validate their own perspectives
•Use lyrics from popular music to engage students in discussion about race, gender, religion, politics, etc.
•Example: “Buffalo Soldier” written by Bob Marley
How Critical Literacy fits into Blooms Taxonomy: •Examining meaning
•Considering the purpose for the text
•Understanding that texts are not neutral
•Questioning and challenging the ways in which texts have been constructed
•Analyzing the power of language
•Justify own attitudes and values
•Taking social action
Questions to ask while reading critically… •What is this text about?
•What does the composer of the text want us to know?
•What do the images and/or words suggest?
•How are children, teenagers and/or adults viewed in this text?
•Are there ‘gaps’ and ‘silences’ in the text?
•Is the text fair?
•What is real in the text?
•What different interpretations of the text are possible?
An Elementary School Example: The Three Little Pigs vs. The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs

Have students read two versions of the same tale and complete a Venn diagram comparing the different viewpoints.
A High School Example: These stories all:
Took place during the same time period and were born in the pre-Civil Rights Era
Provide the opportunity to explore how race, gender, and socio-economic status are portrayed by authors with dissimilar backgrounds.
Learning activities that may occur: •Immersion
•Taking social action
Critical Literacy and Technology •Navigate and interrogate the impact media and technology has on our society
•Teach students to “read between the lines” and question them
•Teach students to evaluate credibility
•Demonstrate how the media and the Internet can misinform and provide messages that are harmful
Equal or Not? •If education were neutral, everyone would have had equal access as well as equal monies invested in their development
•Segregation and unequal funding remain fixtures in American education
•Partisan inequality rules daily life
•4 million children go to bed hungry every day in this food-rich country
•Real food must be guaranteed each child to support her or his academic learning
•From 1970s to mid-1980s, black students substantially narrowed test score gaps between them and their white peers
•Bad news is that these gains slowed or stopped by the 1990s, as economic and educational policies that increased inequality gained momentum
•Economic inequality is the primary problem needing change to build community foundations for school achievement
•Education as a "great equalizer" = a myth
Something to Note: Critical literacy is a pedagogy for those teachers and students morally disturbed by inequalities and for those who wish to act against the violence.
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