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Chapter 6 Critical Literacy: Helping Students Get Beyond Sift-and-Surf Mode to Deeply Synthesize Texts Fisher, D. & Frey, N. (2009). Background Knowledge:

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Presentation on theme: "Chapter 6 Critical Literacy: Helping Students Get Beyond Sift-and-Surf Mode to Deeply Synthesize Texts Fisher, D. & Frey, N. (2009). Background Knowledge:"— Presentation transcript:

1 Chapter 6 Critical Literacy: Helping Students Get Beyond Sift-and-Surf Mode to Deeply Synthesize Texts Fisher, D. & Frey, N. (2009). Background Knowledge: The Missing Piece of the Comprehension Puzzle. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.

2 Understand the role of critical literacy as a means for promoting acquisition and application of background knowledge Connect critical literacy to 21st century learning Examine instructional approaches that can be utilized in classrooms to promote a critical- literacy stance Today’s Purposes

3 Table Talk Discuss a time when your content teaching became a tool for helping a student to make a decision. What were the circumstances? What did you do to facilitate?

4 What is Critical Literacy? The practice of challenging texts through an analysis of the role that power, culture, class, and gender play in the message The habit of questioning information using three questions: In whose interest? For what purpose? Who benefits? (Tasmania (AU) Dept. of Education, 2006)

5 “It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends on his not understanding it.” –Upton Sinclair “Until lions have historians, hunters will be the heroes.” –African proverb What’s Your Reaction?

6 How did you use your background knowledge to inform your understanding? In what ways did you apply principles of critical literacy in order to hold this discussion?

7 Students need to be able to think and to use knowledge and information to make decisions The growth of the Internet has made critical literacy vital in a global community Civic engagement is dependent on a thoughtful and informed constituency Critical Literacy in the 21st Century

8 Background Knowledge and Critical Literacy Critical literacy is about making sure students know what to do with their background knowledge Transforms knowledge from a list o’ facts to something that is operational (conditionalized and transferable) Allows learners to construct heuristics (methods for solving problems) Promotes critical thinking by problematizing content in order to examine it closely

9 Disrupting a common situation or understanding Examining multiple viewpoints Focusing on sociopolitical issues Taking action (Van Sluys, Lewison, and Flint, 2006) Instructional Approaches for Promoting Critical Literacy

10 Disrupting the Commonplace Looking at the role of race and gender –Through My Eyes (Ruby Bridges, 1999) –The Breadwinner (Ellis, 2001) –Persopolis (Satrapi, 2004) Examining class and power –Metamorphosis (Kafka) –Others?

11 In order for students to understand a complex event, they must seek multiple perspectives Casts a dimensionality that challenges adolesent thinking This is an essential standard in science and history Examining Multiple Perspectives

12 Students explore stations describing different geological eras (Cambrian, Permian, Triassic, Jurassic) Artifact for each era at station Students research and report on life in that era Record presentations and comment on the content of others using VoiceThread ( Examining Multiple Perspectives in Science

13 Issues of power, class, and privilege are especially difficult for students to examine because they are so closely anchored to identity Goal is for students to understand how this shades their background knowledge and how they understand and represent information Comparative essays are useful for foregrounding such issues Focus on Sociopolitical Issues

14 Taking Action The link between critical literacy and citizenship Center for Information on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE) notes that current curricula emphasize “heroes and virtues” but lack “critical analysis of injustices” Students ages 15–25 exposed to this approach to civics education were “more trusting” Those from the same age group who experienced a civics curriculum that examined injustices as well as heroes were more likely to be registered voters (Levine & Lopez, 2004)

15 Left for Dead: Taking Action Middle school student Hunter Scott became interested in USS Indianapolis sinking in WWII Made it his history project His inquiry eventually led to a Congressional pardon of the ship’s captain, who had been wrongly court- martialed

16 The Takeaway Critical literacy is not about criticizing; it’s about teaching students to think about information rather than accept it at face value. As we build and activate students’ background knowledge, we want to be sure that we do so for worthwhile reasons. And what is more worthwhile than compelling students to action, whether it be for someone who has been marginalized, to right a wrong, or to change the world?

17 Table Talk What are examples of critical literacy approaches you can use in your curriculum?

18 Assessing Your Practice Use the rubric to determine your goals for building background knowledge in your classroom.

19 Read about promoting civics and active citizenship through critical literacy in articles written by Barack Obama, Jonathan Kozol, Erin Gruwell, Nancy Frey and Doug Fisher, and others at Listen to a variety of educators discuss aspects of critical literacy in and out of the classroom at Read how a teacher uses song lyrics in middle school to foster critical literacy in science, economics, and history at Building Your Own Background Knowledge

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