Posts Tagged ‘Critical’
This article explores the ways that students in a humanities class talked about, researched, and disrupted homophobia at Jones School, a public combined middle school and high school in a small New England town (all names are pseudonyms). It includes strategies that move beyond discussions of right and wrong to a place of critical inquiry and support for the human rights of all Cartier Roadster Replica people. At the same time, it addresses some of the difficulties in “aligning cultural integrity and social justice” in a small, conservative public school (Young, “Challenges” 71).
As an English teacher, I encourage students to question, not simply reproduce what they read in the world. Drawing on the work of Ira Shor and Caroline Pari, and of Linda Christensen, I emphasize critical literacy—reading, writing, questioning, and revising the word as well as the ideologically constructed world—with all students. I focus on the critical literacy work of my Contemporary Issues class, a full-year humanities elective course with students in grades 9—12. Through one project, I worked with these students to challenge the silence surrounding homophobia in our school and make visible the existing support for people of all sexual orientations. I documented, reflected on, adapted, and analyzed the process through practitioner research (see Young, “Practitioner,” for more details).
As a class, we pull these themes together, I write them on the board, and the students have the opportunity to discuss the topics and select some for whole-class inquiry and others for independent exploration.
In Contemporary Issues I want to help students develop critical thinking, reading, writing, speaking, and listening skills as they relate to social issues that affect their everyday lives. I encourage students to dig deeply, questioning and disrupting the social inequalities they see, rather than accepting them as “just the way things are.” To do this, I ask students to determine the topics or contemporary issues that speak to their social concerns and lived realities. Drawing on the work of Paulo Freire, I help students to identify themes that emerge from critical discussions, free writes, and brainstorming sessions.