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The impact of a critical reading course in the Turkish High School context

By Simla Íçmez


Recent research, which argues that discourses shape and are shaped by social\ud reality, has contributed to the development of Critical Literacies and Critical\ud Language Awareness in education. Critical Language Awareness researchers argue\ud that, unless challenged, discourses reproduce dominant ideologies based on the\ud understanding that discourse is a social process and that it is inherently ideological.\ud Therefore, the social aspect of language should not be ignored in literacy\ud education. However, in the context of this study, i. e. Turkey, the current approach\ud to literacy, and in particular to reading, is a traditional one, which does not take the\ud social aspect of language into account. Sharing the principles of Critical Language\ud Awareness, this study seeks to find out the impact of a critical reading course in\ud the Turkish Anatolian High School context.\ud The first chapter opens by exploring the theoretical foundations of Critical\ud pedagogy, later on moving to the principles and practices of Critical Literacies and\ud Critical Language Awareness. In this chapter, student motivation and resistance as\ud a recurring theme in Critical Language Awareness practices is also explored\ud together with theories on motivation.\ud Chapter 2 reviews studies of Critical Discourse Analysis, where Critical Language\ud Awareness has its roots, together with the use of Systemic Functional Grammar as\ud a tool for textual analysis in Critical Language Awareness. In this chapter, I also\ud briefly consider the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis and Turkish language as a case of\ud linguistic relativism and linguistic determinism.\ud In Chapter 3,1 discuss the overall action research approach and particular research\ud instruments (questionnaires, interviews and repeated reading activity) adopted in\ud this study, and this is followed by an account of the critical reading course, given\ud in Chapter 4.\ud Findings of the research are presented in Chapters 5 and 6. In Chapter 5, the\ud findings are presented in relation to the impact of the course on students' approach\ud to written texts. 'Students involved in this study reported and showed in repeated\ud reading activity an increase in recognition of reading as a social process and of the\ud effect of lexicogrammatical structures in texts. In Chapter 61 present findings in\ud relation to the impact of the course on students' motivation. There was some\ud resistance to the course due to the current exam system, but the students who\ud participated in this study reported increased motivation for reading lessons.\ud in Chapter 7,1 present an overall discussion and implications of these findings.\ud Finally, in the Conclusion, which includes limitations to the study and implications\ud for further research

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