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DRPS : Course Catalogue : Moray House School of Education : Education

Postgraduate Course: Critical literacies and critical pedagogies in L1 and L2 contexts (EDUA11309)

Course Outline
SchoolMoray House School of Education CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThe course will be of interest to students with an interest in text and the languages used to create them; intercultural perspectives on texts and their purposes and audiences; and how language is used to establish power and manipulate readers and viewers. Consequently, emphasis will be placed on:
- developing students¿ understanding of the ways in which literacy is embedded in particular sociocultural practices;
- introducing them to important concepts within critical literacy theories such as power; marginalization; the dynamic, unstable and evolving nature of ¿texts¿; and countertexting;
- developing students¿ understanding of the various metalanguages required to a rich and varied range of ¿texts¿;
- helping students to move between theoretical understandings of critical literacy and to consider how such understandings can impact on their professional contexts.
Course description Indicative content
Each session will have a key focus:
1. What do we mean when we talk about literacy? This session examines the ways in which literacy is constructed in society across different cultures and considers who determines what ¿literacy¿ is and what it means to be ¿literate¿. Students will examine the ways in which literacy is constructed in their own cultures, and which aspects of literacy are valued, by analysing culturally-located test of literacy;
2. Different theoretical understandings of critical literacy are introduced through tutor input on the historical development of critical literacy theory and a focus on seminal thinkers and theorists. In this way significant debates and contested areas will be introduced. These are revisited as part of ongoing seminar work and in tutor-designed tasks;
3. Analysis of texts is introduced early in the course and revisited throughout. In looking closely at such texts students will learn about the dynamic and shifting nature of the definition of text in the 21st century. They will also learn how to use the different languages required to analyse such texts ¿ the languages of conventional literary criticism, visual literacy and media literacy, framed through critical literacy theory;
4. Representations of literacy in fiction and in life will be analysed and then compared and contrasted with its representation in students¿ lived experiences;
5. Countertexting and transformation are important and valuable responses to texts, and they are introduced and developed in relation to texts of the students¿ own choosing;
6. Learner autonomy and sharing power ¿ tensions and risk. This session is based on a group reading of Ira Shor and looks at the complexity of critical pedagogy in practice. The text looks at the difficult experiences and the loss of hope Shor felt when the theory did not work. The session then moves on to consider confronting controversial issues in order to manage risk/explore risk through critical literacy;
7. This session will focus on reading picturebooks/curiousity/creating space for critical literacy and critical thinking using Shaun Tan¿s The Lost Thing with ¿poor readers¿;
8. Critical literacy and adult learners; this session, which will focus on adults who, for many and complex reasons, did not become literate in the accepted sense during their years of compulsory education. This session will examine the disempowerment and exclusion they have experienced because of this, and will explore how critical literacy can be used to empower.
9. This session will consider the application of theoretical perspectives on critical literacy and critical pedagogies in students¿ own contexts/professional areas (this will be a formatively assessed task).
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2017/18, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Quota:  None
Course Start Semester 2
Course Start Date 15/01/2018
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 8, Seminar/Tutorial Hours 16, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 172 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Assessment
Formative assessment

1. Students must keep a weekly online learning blog in which they discuss their reading and learning on this course strand. In particular they should reflect critically on how their own understanding of literacy and critical literacy develops over the course and how this has impacted on their practice. At key points they will be required to submit blogs for summative assessment purposes (see below). Feedback will be given by tutors and by other students. Some teaching will focus on how to give and receive peer and tutor feedback.
2. Students will work in groups, select texts from their professional areas, analyse these texts using a critical literacy framework, using appropriate metalanguages of criticism and analysis. These analyses will be presented to the whole group and peer feedback will be given.

Summative assessment
Students are required to maintain a blog (using Pebblepad) throughout the course in which they may discuss any aspect of the course that is of interest to them, including reading, contested areas of theory etc. The substance of four of these blogs will be set by the course organiser and they will form the summative assessment of the course. The blogs will be open to all students and staff, though at the four key assessment points they will be closed. The four blogs, of 1000 words, which will be summatively assessed will require students to:
1. Demonstrate an understanding of critical literacy theory in relation to a text(s) supplied by the course organiser;
2. Provide a close, critical and detailed analysis of a text drawing on critical literacy theory and critical literacy practice;
3. Produce a countertext, with an accompanying rationale for decisions made;
4. Provide a reflective commentary on the extent to which critical literacy theory has changed their approaches to deconstructing and reconstructing texts.

Because some of these assessments occur early on in the course, weaknesses evident in early assessments can be compensated for in later ones. Each assessment will therefore carry a different weighting:

Assessment 1: 20%
Assessment 2: 20%
Assessment 3: 30%
Assessment 4: 30%.

An average mark for the course will therefore be calculated by simply adding the marks for each of the four components together.
Feedback Not entered
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. By the end of the course students will be able to:
    1. identify and discuss critically their own situated literacy practices;

  2. 2. engage critically and analytically with the relevant academic literature;
  3. 3. reflect critically on ¿literacy¿ as a politically and culturally nuanced construct;
  4. 4. analyse critically a wide range of texts to examine power and how this is situated in discourses of race, gender, sexual orientation, poverty, class etc.
  5. 5. critically examine and use countertexting.
Reading List
Critical Literacy and critical pedagogy
Cooper, Karyn, and White, Robert, (eds.) (2008). Critical Literacies in Action: Social Perspectives and Teaching Practices (Transgressions: Cultural Studies and Education). Rotterdam: Sense Publishers.
Darder, A., Baltodano, M. and Torres, R. (2008). The Critical Pedagogy Reader Routledge (2nd Edition)
Erling, EJ., and Seargeant, Philip (eds.) (2013) English and Development: Policy, Pedagogy and Globalisation (Critical Language and Literacy Studies) Multilingual Matters.
Giroux, H. A. (2011). On Critical Pedagogy. Continuum Publishing Corporation.
Janks, H. (2009). Literacy and Power (Language, Culture and Teaching series). Routledge
Lankshear, C. and Knoble, M. (2011) New Literacies: Everyday Practices and Social Learning: Everyday Practices and Classroom Learning. Open University Press 3rd Edition
Morrell, E., Duenas, R., Garcia, V., and Lopez, J. (2013). Critical Media Pedagogy: Teaching for Achievement in City Schools (Language and Literacy Series). New York: Teachers College, Columbia University.
Parmar, P., and Krinsky, H. (2013). Critical Literacy in English Literature (Critical Praxis and Curriculum Guides). Bern: Peter Lang Publishing Inc.
Smyth, J. (2011) Critical Pedagogy for Social Justice. Continuum
Vasquez, V., Tate, S., and Harst, J. (2013). Negotiating Critical Literacies with Teachers: Theoretical Foundations and Pedagogical Resources for Pre-Service and In-Service Contexts. New York/London: Taylor and Francis.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
Special Arrangements None
Study Abroad n/a
Additional Class Delivery Information Lecture and Workshop
Mondays 1.00pm-4.00pm
Thomson's Land 1.15
Keywordscritical literacy literacy language L1 L2
Course organiserDr Pauline Sangster
Tel: (0131 6)51 6415
Course secretaryMrs Moira Ross
Tel: (0131 6)51 6206
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