chapter  13
Critical Literacy in the Second Language Classroom: Power and Control
Pages 22

In this chapter I offer an account of a course on critical reading, which I taught to students of different nationalities at one of Britain’s new universities. The course took a critical language awareness approach, to be more fully described later. My discussion centers around the issue of power and empowerment in teaching critical literacy, in particular the nature of the power exercised by the teacher in the adjudication of students’ interpretations of texts, within what I refer to, with echoes of Fish (1980), as an interpretative community. As I argue previously (Wallace, 1992), “the longer a class is together the more of a community it becomes and the more it begins to exchange communicative resources” (p. 64). I look at some key aspects of the teacher’s role in one segment or episode of the class, in which the students report back to the whole group, their small group analyses of specific texts. First, however, I address some of the wider issues that underpinned this classroom study.