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Negotiating Critical Literacies with Young Children. Vivian Maria Vasquez. Critical Literacy. Critical literacy arises from the social and political conditions that unfold in communities in which we live.

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critical literacy
Critical Literacy
  • Critical literacy arises from the social and political conditions that unfold in communities in which we live.
  • Sometimes referred to as emancipatory, powerful, proper, or transformative literacy, critical literacy examines the connection between literacy and power. It seeks to empower, liberate, and transform. It examines not only the written word to develop an understanding of how knowledge is produced and reproduced it also examines the world.
critical literacy3
Critical Literacy
  • Just as Hirsch argued that language cannot be disentangled from the cultural knowledge and understandings that gives language meaning, it can be argued that critical literacy cannot be disentangled from the cultural, social, political, ideological and economic constructs of the society which gives it meaning.
critical literacy4
Critical Literacy
  • As such, it cannot be traditionally taught.
  • As teachers we need to incorporate a critical perspective into our everyday lives in order to find ways to help children understand the social and political issues around them.
critical literacy5
Critical Literacy
  • It is important to note that critical literacy does not necessarily involve taking a negative stance. Instead it is the ability to analyze and question issues of social justice and equity. Furthermore, it means looking at such issues or topics in different ways and from different perspectives.
  • In Vasquez’s experience rather than being overly serious, conversations were enjoyable because the topics discussed were socially relevant to her and her students.
negotiating the curriculum
Negotiating the Curriculum
  • In creating her curriculum Vasquez was careful to follow all curriculum and standard requirements.
  • Spaces were found in the curriculum where social justice issues were raised and a critical curriculum could be negotiated with children.
negotiating the curriculum7
Negotiating the Curriculum
  • Similar to Shor’s notion of a “third idiom” a negotiated curriculum can be reached through discussions between the students and the teacher.
  • Social issues from the lives and concerns of the students are used to construct and sustain a critical curriculum.
  • Learning is viewed as a process of adjustment and restructuring what is known.
when finding spaces in the curriculum vasquez explains
When finding spaces in the curriculum Vasquez explains:
  • “We did not integrate the issues raised into a curriculum; that is, we did not add critical literacy as a extracurrcular item. Nor did we treat sical issues as unoffical classroom agenda. Instead, the issues became central to our curriculum; they became the stuff that our curriculum was made of.”
a critical literacy curriculum
A critical literacy curriculum
  • Vasquez received support from within her school and from her parents.
    • Some parents requested students be placed in her classroom.
    • Open house held prior to first day of school to explain the critical literacy curriculum.
    • Regular contact maintained with the parents.
    • Three open dialogue evenings for parents to discuss questions, issues and comments they had.
common elements of a daily schedule
Common elements of a daily schedule
  • Class meeting
    • Sign-in
    • Setting a meeting agenda
  • Posting two day plans
  • Reflections
  • Read aloud
  • Work areas
  • Whole group wrap-up
similarities with the workshop
Similarities with the workshop
  • Daily update/class meeting
  • Group read aloud
  • Students work independently on self chosen topics
  • Group share at the end of the day.