SecondaryEnglish

Critical literacy – Guidance for teachers

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Key Stage

KS3, KS4

Age

Years 7-11

Subjects

This document outlines the concept and importance of critical literacy for teachers. It talks about the need for students to question and analyse texts, images and practices and recognise the social constructions inherent in them.

Critical literacy encourages students to engage with diverse perspectives, challenge social norms and understand power dynamics within society.

By teaching this, you can help students develop skills in analysing media, identifying discrimination and understanding the impact of language on politics and social dynamics.

This document provides practical strategies for implementing critical literacy in the classroom, including using diverse texts, films and structured discussions.

Ultimately, this approach aims to empower students to think critically, challenge injustice and contribute to creating a more equitable and socially just world.

What is critical literacy?

From a critical literacy perspective, the world is seen as a socially constructed text that can be read.

The earlier we introduce students to this idea, the sooner they are able to understand what it means to be researchers of language, image, gesture, spaces, and objects.

Critical literacy involves exploring issues such as what counts as language, whose language counts, and who decides. It also involves exploring ways we can revise, rewrite or reconstruct texts to shift or reframe the message(s) conveyed.

Why teach it?

As teachers, we should view critical literacy as a lens, frame, or perspective for teaching throughout
the day, across the curriculum, and perhaps beyond.

What this means is that critical literacy has an ingrained critical perspective that provides us with an ongoing critical orientation to texts and practices.

Meena Wood (@WoodMeena) is an educational consultant, trainer and author of Secondary Curriculum Transformed: Enabling All to Achieve (Routledge, £19.99).

Critical literacy guidance
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Critical literacy – Guidance for teachers
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