The role of language and critical literacy 2

Notes taken during Mario T. Menezes Souza presentation on the role of language and critical literacy.

Critical Literacy

  • Literacy as Social Practice and not as decodification of alphabetic script
  • Reading as social practice – texts are read in contexts
  • Each context is socially constructed and defined and has its own genres of texts and practices of writing and reading: academic, journalistic, advertising, scientific, entertainment, literary, legal, etc.
  • Each social context havs its own,iteracy (uses texts in particular ways)
  • Which literacies do we need to teach our classes?

Scholes, R (1985) Textual Power: literary theory and the teaching of English

Three stages of reading from reading to criticism:

1. Reading (primary, the most basic form of literacy) – as much as knowlege as it is a skill, skill of reading based on knowledge of linguistic and cultural codes used to compose of text and the historical situation in which the text is/was composed

Reading is unconscious activity, the reader shares author’s codes

Pedagogy for reading – reader produces text within text (retell, summarize, expand)

2. Interpretation

  • depends on failure of reading, feeling of incompletness activates the interpretative process (ex. words uknnown to reader, or non-obvious levels of meaning)
  • interpretation is active and conscious, occurs when reader does not share authorĀ“s codes, or when these codes are intentionally concealed by the author, to provoke interpretation (as in poetry), i.e. interpretation occurs when there is excess meaning of efficient knowledge

Pedagogy of interpretation – reader produces text upon text (read and discuss other texts about or on the “primary” text, and bring them to bear on the “primary” text)Interpretation is incomplete without the extension into criticism.

3. Criticism:

  • whereas interpretation may be individual, criticism is always collective or social, done in relation to as set of values, an ideology, of a group or collective to which an individual subscribes.
  • Pedagogy of Criticism – reader produces text against text (need to question the “naturalistic attitude”, neutrality or objectivity, need to understand how points of view are constructed and made to seem natural, and how our own points of view have been constructed by the groups to which we subscribe)

“Our job is not produce readings for our students, but to give them tools for producing their own…our job is not to intimidate students with our own superior textual production. It is to show them the codes upon which all textual production depends, and to encourgage their own textual practice (Scholes 1985, p. 24-25)

Need to see Language and Culture as always local and situated and not global and universal.

There is no whole picture

Escher fish and birds

Sergio and Sara report on the BC site.

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