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GRDG620 Nature & Acquisition of Literacy. Week 9: Critical Literacy and Media Literacy Dr. Gloria E. Jacobs. Agenda. Feedback on Essays Minilecture on Critical Literacy Group Discussions Break Book Club Planning Next Week’s Readings Literacy Artifact Review. Feedback on Essays.

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Grdg620 nature acquisition of literacy

GRDG620 Nature & Acquisition of Literacy

Week 9: Critical Literacy and Media Literacy

Dr. Gloria E. Jacobs


  • Feedback on Essays

  • Minilecture on Critical Literacy

  • Group Discussions

  • Break

  • Book Club Planning

  • Next Week’s Readings

  • Literacy Artifact Review

Feedback on essays
Feedback on Essays

  • Citing throughout a paragraph

  • Synthesizing readings

  • Connecting concepts

Dimensions of critical literacy
Dimensions of Critical Literacy

Disrupting the commonplace

& questioning taken-for- granted


Interrogating multiple viewpoints

Focusing on sociopolitical issues

Taking action and promoting

social justice

From Heffernan & Lewison (2004)

Critical literacy an overview
Critical literacy: An Overview

  • Paulo Freire: Reading the word and the world

    • Pedagogy of the Oppressed (Freire, 1970),

      • Banking model of education versus Problem Posing

      • Action (praxis) and reflection (reflexivity)

    • Based on assumption of class struggle and oppression

  • Australian Model

    • Begins with examination of texts

    • Does not assume oppression

    • Deconstruction/Reconstruction cycle

  • Social constructionist view of knowledge.

    • No neutral position from which truth claims can be made.

    • What counts as evidence, facts or data varies from group to group

    • Evidence and knowledge claims influenced by the status of the advocates and the impact of the truth on the community.

What is critical literacy
What is Critical Literacy?

  • Analyzes issues or topics in different ways

  • Suggests possibilities for change or improvement.

  • A component of the struggle for a better society with an explicit ideological focus on issues of inequity as related to race, gender, class, linguistic variations, and sexual orientation (McKenna, 2006).

  • Literacy that brings with it the freedom to explore and act on our past, present and future. (Shannon, 1995).

  • People using language to exercise power, to enhance everyday life in schools and communities, and to question practices of privilege and injustice (Comber, 2001).

Tenets of critical literacy
Tenets of critical literacy

  • Issues include gender, queer theory, fairness, media representation of information, power and control and positions taken by governments and institutions.

  • Meanings are never neutral, as they always reflect particular perspective of individuals or groups.

  • Not all meanings or truths are created equal. Some meanings carry more privilege or power.

  • Official knowledge are versions of the truth privileged by people in power or mainstream.

Tenents of critical literacy
Tenents of Critical Literacy

  • Just as individuals have multiple identities, texts have many layers of meaning and their interpretation depends on the individual’s background, unique experiences, race, social class, gender among others.

  • Students need to read a variety of texts that discuss critical issues and use them as a springboard for discussions.

  • Students need opportunities to question, counter or agree with texts of various kinds and give reasons for their stances.

  • Teachers need to select thought-provoking texts to generate critical discussions, not books that end with “they lived happily ever after.”


  • Texts are not so much to be comprehended in the traditional sense but rather interpreted and critiqued for the perspective they represent…(Kucer, p. 235). What can this look like in the classroom at various grade levels? (guided reflection question 1)

  • How did Vasquez navigate critical literacy in her classroom? What aspect of critical literacy did she facilitate? (guided reflection question 2)

  • What does changing participation in a participatory culture look like, and what the implications are for literacy acquisition and learning. (guided reflection question 3)

  • How can participatory culture and digital media support the goals of critical literacy?

Critical literacy in the classroom
Critical literacy in the classroom

  • Literature that deals with social issues e.g. bullying, theft, racism, stereotyping, marginalization, disobedience, divorce, etc. Let students critically respond to these texts.

  • Discussion of issues pertaining to social justice.

  • Help students to discuss, interrogate and expose hidden and taken for granted assumptions so as to transform students understanding of text.

  • Multiple perspectives in students’ response

    • While encouraging students to draw from background knowledge, teacher intervention is required when such experiences run counter to the promotion of just and equitable classroom e.g. writing workshop.

  • Reading different perspectives.

  • Writing in authentic contexts on authentic issues.

  • Bridging the participation gap and supporting students in learning 21st century skills

Critical media literacy
Critical Media Literacy

  • Participatory Culture

  • Focus on opportunities for learning 21st century skills, not what technologies to use

Book circles
Book Circles

  • Requirements

  • Meet with your group to plan your reading schedule, determine online sharing/discussion platform

  • Meeting and jigsaw sharing on 11/22

Next week
Next Week

  • Reading:

    • Baron, D. (2001). From pencils to pixels: The stages of literacy technologies.

    • Larson & Marsh (2005), Chapter 4 -- Do not read

    • Lankshear, C., & Knobel, M. (2003). New literacies: Changing knowledge and classroom learning. Chapter 1

    • Agreed upon section of Literature Circle Book

  • Writing:

    • Baron annotation

    • Lankshear & Knobel annotations

  • Literacy Artifact Review Presentations

Literacy artifact review now end
Literacy Artifact Review: now – End

  • See syllabus for details

  • Presentations – use presentation style consistent with the era you are presenting

    • Create something only your group could do

    • Examples:

      • Museum displays with docents

      • Digital stories, podcasts

      • Simulations