Class Conscious or Conscience Class: The Pedagogical Choices Teachers Make as Critical Literacy Practitioners

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Virginia Tech

In a time of high stakes tests and mounting pressures in favor of standardized curricula at all levels, teachers continue to work in the best interests of their students as is evidenced by their statements both public and private, their continued commitment to their profession, and their political actions. Indeed, many advocate loudly and repeatedly for their students and for maximal opportunities for those same students. Without doubt, many of these teachers aspire to help learners of all ages and from all sociocultural strata develop into not only critical readers, consumers, and even critical civic participants, but into citizens with active critical consciences and a lively critical consciousness of their own culture and the cultures of others.

In this study, the author observed and interviewed two middle school teachers and two high school teachers—all English teachers—for purposes of examining the participants' teaching practice for identifiable acts and statements involving the promotion of critical literacy among learners in the teachers' classrooms. The observations and interviews were conducted across a contiguous three-day period for each participant during the same class period each day. Participants self-selected dates and class period, and also were aware of the purpose of the study, i.e. to look for critical literacy practices in teaching. All observations and interviews were coded inductively and used Strauss and Corbin's (1998) three-step coding process for grounded theory of open, axial, and selective coding. Teachers' observed actions and statements were subsequently analyzed in a constant comparative analysis.

English Instruction, Teaching Methods, Secondary Education., teacher education, critical literacy practitioners, Critical literacy, Literacy, Critical Theory