Negotiating Critical Literacies in Classrooms brings together accounts of educators who have sought to make a difference in the lives of their students through literacy education--from university classrooms in the United States, England, and South Africa, to policy and curriculum development in Singapore and Australia. Each chapter represents the results of extended research on classroom practice.
The authors in this collection write as teachers. The literacy classrooms they explore range from the early years of schooling, to primary and secondary education, through to community and university sites. Although the volume is organized around different levels of education, clearly overlapping themes emerge across the chapters, including identity formation and textual practices, politicizing curriculum and textbook production, and changing the power relations in classroom talk around text.
An overarching theme of this collection is the belief that there is no one generic, universal critical literacy--in theory or in practice. Rather, the authors reveal how a range of theories can serve as productive starting points for educators working on social justice agendas through the literacy curriculum, and, equally important, how particular critical literacy theories or pedagogies must be worked out in specific locations. In each of these accounts, educators explain how they have taken a body of theory and worked with and on it in classrooms. Their rich portrayals and narratives of classroom realities illustrate the unanticipated effects of pedagogies that emerge in specific contexts. Experiences from the classrooms have led them to revise theories that are central to critical literacy, including constructs such as "empowerment," "resistance," and "multiple readings." This collection documents what occurs when educators confront the difficult ethical and political issues that evolve in particular classroom situations.
Negotiating Critical Literacies in Classrooms is appropriate as a text for courses in language and literacy education, and will be of broad interest to educational researchers, practitioners, and theorists. The practical classroom focus makes this book accessible and of interest to a wide range of teachers and an excellent resource for professional development. The international scope will appeal to a global educational readership.
"The narratives are powerful, providing stories essential for understanding and so often missing in other texts that present only detached theoretical constructs. Throughout, the reader is challenged to question the politics and ethics of literacy curricula."
"Negotiating Critical Literacies in Classrooms is not only a careful check to discussions of critical literacy in general but also a detailed exploration of the competing contingencies that inhabit the socioultural and developmental aspects of literacy learning in L1 and L2 classrooms…Through its breadth of teacher-research in classrooms around the world (kindergarten through university), the book asks teachers to resist the assumption that there is one critical pedagogy that achieves one kind of empowerment for all kinds of students. A book with this scope might risk fragmentation among its chapters-not so with this one. The chapters are unified by their common themes: the identity politics that play out in emancipatory pedagogies, the mitigated effectiveness of critical pedagogy, the risk-taking involved in critical literacy practices, and the influence that (in)flexible social and institutional structures have on critical literacy classrooms."
—Studies in Second Language Aquisition
"The volume one the whole is a rich collection of how educators in widely different contexts have used problematic constructs like 'empowerment' and 'multiple meanings' to work out situated understandings of critical literacies in a variety of ways." --Vijaya Sherry Chand, Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, Journal of Language, Identity, and Education
Contents: Preface. Part I: Critical From the Start: Examining Relations of Power in Textual Practices. A.H. Dyson, Relational Sense and Textual Sense in a U.S. Urban Classroom: The Contested Case of Emily, Girl Friend of a Ninja. U. Sahni, Children Appropriating Literacy: Empowerment Pedagogy From Young Children's Perspective. J. O'Brien, Children Reading Critically: A Local History. V. Vasquez, Constructing a Critical Curriculum With Young Children. Part II: Exploring Critical Literacies in Primary Schooling: Unresolved Questions. Y.M. Cheah, From Prescription to Participation: Moving From Functional to Critical Literacy in Singapore. A.M.Y. Lin, Resistance and Creativity in English Reading Lessons in Hong Kong. B. Bigelow, On the Road to Cultural Bias: A Critique of The Oregon Trail CD-ROM. B. Mellor, A. Patterson, Teaching Readings? Part III: Critical Literacies and Questions of Identity. H. Janks, Identity and Conflict in the Critical Literacy Classroom. P. Stein, Classrooms as Sites of Textual, Cultural, and Linguistic Reappropriation. W. Martino, "Dickheads, Wuses, and Faggots": Addressing Issues of Masculinity and Homophobia in the Critical Literacy Classroom. L. Cruddas, P. Watson, Ta(l)king Back: Dialogizing Authorship. Part IV: Tertiary Education as a Site for Critical Literacies. C. Wallace, Critical Literacy in the Second Language Classroom: Power and Control. J.W. Bell, Building Bridges/Making Meanings: Texts of Popular Culture and Critical Pedagogy in Theory and Practice. J. Clarence-Fincham, Responding to Academic Discourse: Developing Critical Literacy at a South African University. N. Wooldridge, Tensions and Ambiguities in Critical Literacy. B. Comber, Critical Literacies and Local Action: Teacher Knowledge and a 'New' Research Agenda.