Vedaaranya Heritage Arts and Healing Festival 2016

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Dr. Radha Iyer

School of Cultural and Language Studies in Education
Faculty of Education Queensland University of Technology
Victoria Park Road , Kelvin Grove- 4059
Brisbane , Australia

Adopting the critical/postcritical lens in teaching and learning:
Significance of literacy models in fostering the critical.

The National Curriculum Framework (2005) and the National Curriculum Framework
for Teacher Education (2010) of India propose critical thinking and critical pedagogy as significant aims of education. A move toward critical pedagogy and critical thinking while not new to the Indian context, as it is advocated it draws on Freire and constructivism with an expectation that teachers are reflective practitioners.

In order to examine the significance of teachers adopting critical pedagogy and its associated concept of critical literacy, this study gathered data from 30 preservice teachers in focus group discussions in India. The themes that emerged were analysed through the intertextual and dialogic lens provided by Bakhtin to explain the multiple, diverse and discrete voices that filtered through the responses provided by the participants. Three main themes emerged: shifting from teacher centred pedagogy to learner centred pedagogy; conforming to the syllabus and having the autonomy to experiment and challenge; the advantages and limitations of applying critical literacy.

To illustrate the application of critical thinking and critical literacy, I draw on an Indian text to discuss how reading the word and reading the world are complex acts. Examining the text critically through the four resource literacy model (Freebody & Luke, 1990; 2003) was useful in highlighting that reading and thinking critically involve the active construction of meaning and the inclusion of participant voice and agency. I advocate that in the Indian pedagogical context, the move from teacher centred pedagogy to learner centred pedagogy, learning to experiment and challenge texts requires consideration of social and cultural practices and a move to postcritical literacy ( Iyer, 2007).


Radha Iyer is currently employed in the School of Cultural and Language Studies in Education, Faculty of Education at Queensland University of Technology, Australia. She holds a PhD in Education from University of Queensland, Australia. She teaches in the areas of social and cultural issues in education in the B.Ed program, coordinates one B.Ed Field Studies Unit and teaches EdD students. Her research interests include critical discourse analysis, critical literacy, media literacy, multiliteracies, gender and educational issues.