Critical literacy and inquiring minds: more critical than ever in our text-saturated world

Wilson, Eric A. (2007) Critical literacy and inquiring minds: more critical than ever in our text-saturated world. In: Proceedings of 2007 Australian Teacher Education Association National Conference (ATEA), pp. 1-11. From: Australian teacher Education Association Conference, 3-6 July 2007, University of Wollongong, NSW, Australia.

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Abstract

Critical literacy is integral to a balanced repertoire of literacy practices in these New Times, given the continual barrage of texts, sometimes invited at other times unsolicited, from a disparate array of known and unknown sources. Critical literacy, together with an inquiring mind, offer tools for deep understanding that have been valued in Australian schools for some time. Given the hazardous ground associated with our text-saturated lives, it could be harmful to one’s personal well being to be left exposed without such tools. However, current debate in Australia targets critical literacy in considerable and profound ways. There is a strident public discourse in opposition to the teaching of critical literacy in schools, and within teacher education programs. Regular articles continue to appear in the media, blaming critical literacy for a purported decline in literacy standards; suggestions that critical literacy derives from a left-wing conspiracy to undermine Australian values have been used to further politicise this process. Should the ‘conservative’ political view win the day, teaching of critical practices will most assuredly be deleted from the school curriculum and the potential benefit it offers to future students lost. This paper attempts to ‘objectify’ the critical process, offering sound, clear argument for promoting an inquiring mind and critical approaches to literacy within teacher education programs. Using excerpts from some of the literature across this public debate, I put an argument that encourages ‘logical’ thought about the merits of critical views on literacy and thinking. These views are located in the argument as essential elements of a futures-orientation to literacy and learning, to stand alongside the broadly unchallenged acceptance of phonemic awareness and adherence to conventions of spelling and punctuation as essential ingredients in what it is to be ‘functionally literate’ in 21st century Australia.

Item ID: 9341
Item Type: Conference Item (Refereed Research Paper - E1)
Keywords: social critical literacy; critical thinking; critical pedagogy; text analysis; educational change
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ISBN: 978-0-9775685-1-2
Date Deposited: 23 Mar 2010 04:20
FoR Codes: 13 EDUCATION > 1302 Curriculum and Pedagogy > 130204 English and Literacy Curriculum and Pedagogy (excl LOTE, ESL and TESOL) @ 60%
13 EDUCATION > 1303 Specialist Studies in Education > 130301 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education @ 25%
22 PHILOSOPHY AND RELIGIOUS STUDIES > 2203 Philosophy > 220307 Hermeneutic and Critical Theory @ 15%
SEO Codes: 93 EDUCATION AND TRAINING > 9302 Teaching and Instruction > 930201 Pedagogy @ 30%
93 EDUCATION AND TRAINING > 9303 Curriculum > 930301 Assessment and Evaluation of Curriculum @ 10%
93 EDUCATION AND TRAINING > 9301 Learner and Learning > 930104 Moral and Social Development (incl. Affect) @ 60%
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