This week we in my class, Issues and Trends in Curriculum, we were asked to respond to our common text, reflecting on our learning through this course. Here is my post:
Response to Our Common Text, Negotiating Critical Literacies with Teachers
Prior to starting this course, I had thought that I would be only looking at common trends within our country’s curriculum with our discussions focused on some of the common issues. Although we have talked about critical literacy in previous classes, it hadn’t crossed my mind that it would be a focus of this class. So when I got the text for this class I was a little surprised by the title, Negotiating Critical Literacies with Teachers: Theoretical Foundations and Pedagogical Resources for Pre-service and In-service Contexts (Vasquez, Tate, & Harste, 2013). Even then, I thought I would get an overview of critical literacy with a few references to other resources.
As cynical as it was, I was definitely proven wrong. This book (and class) was so much more than I had thought. I now feel like I have a deeper understanding of critical literacy and understand its importance in the classroom. Now I think I have enough understanding to begin to incorporate it into my own classroom. I understand more, the importance of digging deeper into texts, challenging the status quo. I also understand why it is important to help students find their voices and take action. This text has also stated a solid case for why I must allow students to show multiple ways of knowing. Sometimes I get so wrapped up around what I want students to learn that I don’t think about all of the different ways they might show their learning. Reading about great examples of multiple ways of knowing (soundtracks, literary maps, print ads, inside-out art, etc.) has reminded me of the importance of not stifling creativity because I have an image in my mind of how I think something should look. That’s not what’s important- the knowledge that’s being conveyed is what is important.
I will be teaching at a new school in my district next year and I wonder how receptive the administrators and my team will be as I try to incorporate a lot of these ideas into my teaching. As I get to dig deeper into the curriculum and common core for sixth grade I am excited to look for ways to add in critical literacy and multiple ways of knowing. I have no doubt, this is what’s best for kids and I will do everything that I can to make sure that I’m able to incorporate these ideas.
Vasquez, V., Tate, S., & Harste, J. (2013) Negotiating critical literacies with teachers: Theoretical foundations and pedagogical resources for pre-service and in-service contexts. London: Routledge.