Monday, October 29, 2007

Critical Literacy

I am embarrassed to say that I have not been properly aware of the activities of the Critical Literacies Project based at my own university.

There is interesting material on the site (
), including a chapter which outlines and reflects on the nature of critical literacy. The focus on Friere's work reminded me of Susie Andretta's information literacy work inspired by Friere's "pedagogy of the question." My eye was caught by the "Key tenets of critical literacy": interesting also to debate whether these are tenets for IL. Certainly they touch chords with me, although the dominant mode of addressing IL does not emphasise this side of things so explicitly: to quote the first few tenets (and think about substituting "information literacy" for "critical literacy")

"Literacy is not a neutral technology, it is always ideologically situated. It is shaped by power and, in turns, shapes subjects and discourses (Freebody and Luke, 1990).
"2. Learners are differently positioned in relation to access to dominant literacy discourses through aspects such as ‘race’, class, culture, gender, language, sexual orientation, and physical abilities (Meacham, 2003; Vicars, 2003).
"3. Critical literacy practices can foster political awareness and social change (Freire & Macedo, 1987; Luke & Freebody, 1990)." (quoted from: Larson, J. and Marsh, J. (2005) "Critical Literacy." In: Making Literacy Real: Theories and Practices for Learning and Teaching. London: Sage.

As with digital literacy, there is an overlap in the concept/subject, but it is clear that they are not the same thing.

Photo by Sheila Webber: Autumn, Sheffield, October 2007.


Troy Swanson said...

Critical literacy has much to offer to information literacy. Dane Ward's "Revisioning Information Literacy for Lifelong Meaning" in The Journal of Academic Librarianship (Volume 32, Issue 4, July 2006, Pages 396-402) might be the best adaptation of critical literacy to information literacy. There are many of us out there thinking about this, so thanks for the post.

neuromancien said...

Yes it's not the same thing but...
There are convergences and IL researchers, Critical Literacy, Digital Literacy and Media Literacy resarchers should work together.
I think it's time now for a wider concept "culture de l'information et de la communication" in french who can easily include participation culture.
I write an article here :
but it's in french. I promiss I 'll try to translate it but I think I need Help.
I think it's time that France and GB work together in IL area.

Sheila Webber said...

Thanks for those comments! If you were able to make a draft of your article, neromancien, I could try finalising the English.