Classroom Teachers and Critical Literacy

Yiola CleovoulouI am fascinated with classroom teachers’ pedagogy. In particular, how elementary school teachers teach critical literacy to young children.  How teachers plan, what materials they choose and the discussions they facilitate in the classroom were some of the areas I asked classroom teachers in relation to their efforts to build critically literate students. My research team spent half of the  school year observing classroom teachers` daily practices with a special focus on  critical literacy. We also interviewed the teachers to gain an understanding of their thinking about their practice. One interesting finding is the close connection between content (often driven by narrative texts) and pedagogy. That is, teachers (in the early primary grades) focused heavily on narrative texts to relay information about critical social issues and designed learning opportunities (discussions, extensions) based on the texts. This process resulted in children sharing their own stories and understandings of the critical social issues (i.e. identity and exclusion,  inequitable distribution of resources, class).  Understanding teachers` classroom practices is connected to phase two of our study on literacy teacher educators.  I want to know how the two sets of pedagogical practices connect: how does the pedagogy of literacy teacher educators who have a critical stance transfer to classroom teachers’ practices?

By: Yiola Cleovoulou

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