chapter  51
13 Pages

Critical Literacy and Second Language Learning

Critical literacy is the use of texts to analyse and transform relations of cultural, social and political power. It is part of a longstanding normative educational project to address social, economic and cultural injustice and inequality. It aims towards the equitable development and acquisition of language and literacy by historically marginalized communities and students, and towards the use of texts in a range of communications media to analyse, critique, represent and alter inequitable knowledge structures and social relations of school and society. Educators in the fi eld for teaching English to speakers of other languages (TESOL) have adopted, used and developed different versions of critical literacy since the 1980s, leading to an array of pedagogic approaches. They derive a common principle from Paulo Freire (1972): that language teaching and learning is an act of political and cultural power with substantive material and social consequences and possibilities for learners and their communities. The normative premise of this work is that the telos of literacy as a human capacity is a will towards freedom, equality and emancipation.