Thinking Critically in the Land of Princesses and Giants : The Affordances and Challenges of Critical Approaches in the Early Years

Exley, Beryl E., Woods, Annette F., & Dooley, Karen T. (2013) Thinking Critically in the Land of Princesses and Giants : The Affordances and Challenges of Critical Approaches in the Early Years. In Pandya, Jessica & Avila, Julianna (Eds.) Moving Critical Literacies Forward : A New Look at Praxis Across Contexts. Routledge, London, pp. 59-70.

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During the last four decades, educators have created a range of critical literacy approaches for different contexts, including compulsory schooling (Luke & Woods, 2009) and second language education (Luke & Dooley, 2011). Despite inspirational examples of critical work with young students (e.g., O’Brien, 1994; Vasquez, 1994), Comber (2012) laments the persistent myth that critical literacy is not viable in the early years. Assumptions about childhood innocence and the priorities of the back-to-basics movement seem to limit the possibilities for early years literacy teaching and learning. Yet, teachers of young students need not face an either/or choice between the basic and critical dimensions of literacy. Systematic ways of treating literacy in all its complexity exist. We argue that the integrative imperative is especially important in schools that are under pressure to improve technical literacy outcomes. In this chapter, we document how critical literacy was addressed in a fairytales unit taught to 4.5 - 5.5 year olds in a high diversity, high poverty Australian school. We analyze the affordances and challenges of different approaches to critical literacy, concluding they are complementary rather than competing sources of possibility. Furthermore, we make the case for turning familiar classroom activities to critical ends.

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ID Code: 57093
Item Type: Book Chapter
Keywords: critical literacy, early childhood, text analytic approaches, fairy tales, genre pedagogy
ISBN: 9780415818148
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > EDUCATION (130000) > EDUCATION SYSTEMS (130100) > Early Childhood Education (excl. Maori) (130102)
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 > Research Centres > Children & Youth Research Centre
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Education
Past > Schools > School of Cultural & Language Studies in Education
Current > Schools > School of Early Childhood & Inclusive Education
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2013 Routledge.
Deposited On: 11 Feb 2013 05:01
Last Modified: 28 Oct 2015 06:22

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