The Use Of Critical Literacy In The Classroom

847 words - 4 pages

All forms of communication are social and political acts, which can be used to influence people’s life and opinion, what’s more, lead to social change. In reading activities, readers are active participants in the reading process (Freire, 1972a). In order to fully take part in the reading process, readers need to consider both their own, as well as the writers’ context and their ways of valuing things. A very good example is Bauer’s remarks on stray animals, which we have discussed in class. If we only look at the comment part of the stray animals, we may consider more about the grandmother’s background and social condition, in order to find out the reasons of her attitude toward stray animals. Once we learn the context of the remarks and the speaker’s social status, we can move deeper and get the real purpose of Bauer. As the lieutenant governor of South Carolina, Bauer has his own preferred policies. He compared poor people to stray animals, and holds the opinion that extended welfare which benefits to the poor should not be encouraged. If the reader cannot understand the writer’s context and ways of valuing, it is very difficult to understand the exact meaning of the text.
In Chinese EFL literacy classrooms, students have many chances to read texts which are not related to their own social lives. How to understand and evaluate such texts? Jones (1990) suggests a diagram for us to follow. In the diagram, the writer’s context leads to his ways of writing, and his writing process results in the text. On the reader’s part, the reader’s context leads to his ways of reading, and this reading process also aims at the text. In order to fully understand the text, both writers and readers need to consider about each others’ context. If the reader can agree with what the writer says, then he is the ideal reader who is reading with the text. On the contrary, if the reader disagrees with the text, then he is a resistant reader who is reading against the text. Encouraging different voice in literacy classrooms enables the readers to think critically and appreciate the similarities and differences that they have (Clarke & Whitney, 2009).
In Chinese EFL literacy classrooms, critical thinking and critical literacy are still great challenges for many reasons. Firstly, traditional teacher-centered teaching mode is still very popular in Chinese schools and colleges. Teachers prefer this mode because it is time saving and easy to control. Students prefer this mode because it is safe and accurate, and they believe the answers from the teacher are...

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