Critical literacy finds a "Place": Writing and social action in a low-income Australian grade 2/3 classroom

Comber, B., Thomson, P., & Wells, M. (2000) Critical literacy finds a "Place": Writing and social action in a low-income Australian grade 2/3 classroom. Elementary School Journal, 101(4), pp. 450-464.


In a study of socioeconomically disadvantaged children's acquisition of school literacies, a university research team investigated how a group of teachers negotiated critical literacies and explored notions of social power with elementary children in a suburban school located in an area of high poverty. Here we focus on a grade 2/3 classroom where the teacher and children became involved in a local urban renewal project and on how in the process the children wrote about place and power. Using the students' concerns about their neighborhood, the teacher engaged her class in a critical literacy project that not only involved a complex set of literate practices but also taught the children about power and the possibilities for local civic action. In particular, we discuss examples of children's drawing and writing about their neighborhoods and their lives. We explore how children's writing and drawing might be key elements in developing "critical literacies" in elementary school settings. We consider how such classroom writing can be a mediator of emotions, intellectual and academic learning, social practice, and political activism.

Impact and interest:

36 citations in Scopus
44 citations in Web of Science®
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ID Code: 41706
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
ISSN: 00135984
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > EDUCATION (130000) > CURRICULUM AND PEDAGOGY (130200) > English and Literacy Curriculum and Pedagogy (excl. LOTE ESL and TESOL) (130204)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Education
Copyright Owner: Elsevier
Deposited On: 17 May 2011 04:58
Last Modified: 24 Jun 2017 14:34

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