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The Use of Critical Literacy in the Classroom Essay

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All forms of communication are social and political acts, which can be used to influence people’s life, opinion, and what’s more, lead to social change. In reading activities, readers are active participants in the reading process (Freire, 1972a). In order to fully take part in the reading process, readers need to consider both their own, as well as the writers’ context and their ways of valuing things. A very good example is Bauer’s remarks on stray animals, which we have discussed in class. If we only look at the comment part of the stray animals, we may consider more about the grandmother’s background and social condition, in order to find out the reasons of her attitude toward stray animals. Once we learn the context of the remarks and the speaker’s social status, we can move deeper and get the real purpose of Bauer. As the lieutenant governor of South Carolina, Bauer has his own preferred policies. He compared poor people to stray animals, and holds the opinion that extended welfare which benefits to the poor should not be encouraged. If the reader cannot understand the writer’s context and ways of valuing, it is very difficult to understand the exact meaning of the text.
In Chinese EFL literacy classrooms, students have many chances to read texts which are not related to their own social lives. How to understand and evaluate such texts? Jones (1990) suggests a diagram for us to follow. In the diagram, the writer’s context leads to his ways of writing, and his writing process results in the text. On the reader’s part, the reader’s context leads to his ways of reading, and this reading process also aims at the text. In order to fully understand the text, both writers and readers need to consider about each others’ context. If...


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...ther classmates. In 2000, Mellor and Patterson suggest alternative practice strategy, they assume that text is not a mere reflection of our life, instead, it is written in particular places, at particular times, and based on the writer’s particular beliefs. In 2003, Mclaughlin and Devoogd suggest the alternative text strategy. The aim of this strategy is to give students more opportunities to perceive the text in different ways, and understand the complexity of the social issues. All these theories can be used to help students find their own answers about the text, and have a better experience between text and the world. In Chinese EFL classrooms, teachers are not used to critical literacy yet, however, students have the rights to gain such training and practice, and we can combine critical thinking with different course and earn a chance to see a different world.



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