A Book on Critical Literacy and Teacher Education

I (Pooja) am currently re-reading Negotiating critical literacies with teachers: Theoretical foundations and pedagogical resources for pre-service and in-service contexts (Vasquez, V.M., Tate, S.L, & Harste, J.C., 2013). This book suggests a theoretical framework, provides insightful examples, and offers pedagogical resources when incorporating critical literacy practices into pre-service and in-service teacher education.

I share some moments in the book which really stood out for me during my second reading:

1. Vasquez et al. suggest this book fills a gap in the literature about critical literacy and teacher education. Specifically,

 This book speaks to what Dozier et al. (2006) observe as a profession that has not publicly articulated the nature of the alignment between our expectations for our [teacher educators’] own literate lives and our expectations for our students as literacy learners.

 2. As I was more closely re-reading the final chapter of this text, a section on “Dealing with Accountability and Standards” really stood out for me. This section dealt what our critical literacy participants in our SSHRC study have expressed to be a tension in their work. Vasquez et al. (2013) take the following stance on dealing with accountability and standards as teacher educators,

A question that often arises for us is how to get beyond the hurdles of incorporating a critical stance when we live in a world of accountability and standards….we have found that these difficulties become easier with teachers who have a concrete philosophy about their pedagogy and can demonstrate how this type of pedagogy has changed their own academic and personal lives as well as that of their students.

3. They go on to provide insights into how best practice critical literacy in teacher education,

We have also found that you cannot do this work alone. Having other to think with and reflect with, even if they are not in your workplace makes all the difference in whether you continue to create more and more spaces for critical literacy in your setting or whether you throw in the towel.

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