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Learning language and doing critical literacy at the same time: issues facing NESB students in the mainstream secondary classroom

By Jennifer H. Alford


As one of eight states and territories in Australia, Queensland is responsible for its own educational policies and practices. Critical Literacy is now included in the state curricular design as a pedagogical platform (rather than an adjunct or optional course). This is a welcome initiative here after years of a transmission style of literacy in which students have been encouraged to reproduce conventions of language in use (genres) without questioning the dominant assumptions and values underpinning texts. Once considered renegade and of suspect political association (Muspratt et al 1997), CL has been instated as orthodoxy in mainstream documents such as the Queensland trial pilot Syllabus in Senior English (Nov. 1999). The version of CL presently endorsed in this trial Syllabus and associated school-based work-programs, encourages senior English students (aged between 15 & 18 yrs) to explore varying reading and author positions and the social and cultural influence of Discourses (sic). It should be noted here that the term Discourse in the Syllabus and in this paper is that defined by James Gee : "Discourses are ways in which people co-ordinate and are co-ordinated by language, other people, objects, times and places, so as to take on particularly socially recognisable identities." (Gee 1996, p. 131)

Topics: 200401 Applied Linguistics and Educational Linguistics, 200405 Language in Culture and Society (Sociolinguistics), Critical Literacy, ESL, second language teaching
Publisher: International Reading Association
Year: 2001
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