Afterschool MediaClub: Critical Literacy in a High-Diversity, High-Poverty Urban Setting

Dooley, Karen & Exley, Beryl (2015) Afterschool MediaClub: Critical Literacy in a High-Diversity, High-Poverty Urban Setting. In Yoon, Bogum & Sharif, Rukhsar (Eds.) Critical Literacy Practice: Applications of Critical Theory in Diverse Settings. Springer, Singapore, pp. 41-56.

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In this chapter we present analyses of data produced with young people in an afterschool digital literacy program for 9 – 12 year olds. The young people were students at a high diversity, high poverty outer suburban elementary school in Queensland, Australia. The club was part of the URLearning research project (2010-14). In the classroom-based component of the project we worked with teachers to develop intellectually substantive and critical digital literacy practice. MediaClub was in some ways complementary to the classroom component; it was designed to skill up interested kids as digital media experts not only for their families and communities, but also for the classroom. Given the critical literacy traditions established in Australian schools, we approached MediaClub with certain critical expectations. In this chapter we look at what ensued, highlighting unanticipated critical outcomes at a time of heightened struggle over English curriculum.

Critical literacy has been part of official English curriculum in Queensland since the early 1990s. The approach has been primarily text analytic, concerned with giving students access to genres of power and tools for understanding the ideological work of language through text. Many ideas for translating this normative critical project into classroom practice have been developed for use from the earliest elementary grades onwards. However, curricular space for critical literacy is under pressure. Amongst other things, this reflects both the development of Australia’s first national curriculum and the construction of a regimen of national literacy testing.

At MediaClub we found a certain resistance to learning activities which were “too much like school”. However, in a context of increased control of teachers’ and students’ work in the classroom, MediaClub evolved as a learning space that can be understood in critical terms. Our experience in this regard might be of interest to teachers and researchers in high diversity high poverty settings that are strongly controlled through increasingly prescriptive – even scripted – pedagogies.

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ID Code: 81209
Item Type: Book Chapter
Keywords: digital literacy, media club, afterschool program
DOI: 10.1007/978-981-287-567-9_4
ISBN: 9789812875662
Divisions: Current > Research Centres > Children & Youth Research Centre
Current > Schools > School of Teacher Education & Leadership
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Education
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2015 Springer Science+Business Media Singapore
Deposited On: 27 Jan 2015 00:43
Last Modified: 17 Jun 2016 16:22

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