Date of Award

2018

Document Type

Open Access Dissertation

Department

Educational Studies

Sub-Department

College of Education

First Advisor

Rhonda Jeffries

Abstract

Critical literacy situated within a critical theoretical and pedagogical paradigm focuses specifically on exploring the sociopolitical implications of texts and challenging information rather than taking it at face value. The present study constitutes a case study that describes the perceptions and experiences of seven preschool teachers who employ critical literacy in their early childhood classroom and how their pedagogy fits within the existing themes seen in the early childhood literature. Specifically, this case study is an instrumental collective study, consisting of in-depth interviews. Through qualitative analysis of these interviews a variety of specific pedagogical methods for implementing critical literacy are explored. These include critical questioning: (including questions based on children’s experiences as culturally relevant pedagogy, bibliotherapy, and the children’s interests/questions), critical literacy to explore multiple perspectives (such as within: common children’s stories/fairytales, social justice/diversity books, and historical/ non-fiction texts), and taking direct social action. Additionally, the participant’s responses regarding other methods of teaching for social justice, the developmental appropriateness of various social justice topics, and the challenges of implementing critical pedagogy with young children are also described and analyzed. Additionally, this research provides insight as to how critical literacy can be progressivist/constructivist based through the role of play and extension activities.

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