Sunday, July 15, 2007


The critical literacies symposium at the UKLA conference last week went very well (although we ran out of time, of course!). Guy has written a useful summary of the four papers here . Join in the discussion Guy and I had about the phrase 'critical literacy' - I think, for example, this it refers to both texts and practices (and multimedia/ multimodal analysis and production) and so I am not sure I fully subscribe to the notion that it is 'rooted in an autonomous literacy and an outsider mindset'. Interesting thought, however!

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Critical links

We held a project day for the 'Critical Literacies' project a few weeks ago and it was a rich and fruitful day for all concerned. We were updated on the various projects involved and shared reflections on the challenges and opportunities faced by teachers undertaking critical literacy work in the current UK climate. Despite the varied nature of the 4 projects, we decided that there were a number of similar elements:
a) Each of the projects had focused primarily on subjects that were rooted in the children's own interests and experiences. This enabled teachers to draw on the students' own expertise in these particular areas of knowledge.
b) Each of the projects involved children in multimodal, multimedia production and were developing critical practices across these modes and media.
c) All of the teachers noted that children's responses were enthusiastic in nature and the project had motivated children who otherwise struggled to engage in the curriculum.
d) All of the teachers involved in the presentations felt that the project had been beneficial for their own professional development as it has enabled them to reflect on issues that previously had not been central to their concerns.
More on this at the UKLA conference, but needless to say that there is such a lot of rich material developed in the project that we are going to need to extend the project into next year in order to get it all written up! More on this in due course.


Thursday, April 05, 2007

Critical Literacies Symposium

Work that has been undertaken on the UK Critical Literacies project will be shared at the UKLA International Conference in Swansea, 6th - 8th July, 2007. You can find further details of the conference here. There will be a symposium in which teachers and researchers from 4 of the projects will present their work.

Ernest Morrell will be a keynote speaker at the same conference. We look forward to learning about his work on critical literacies, some of which he shared here.

So - book your place now at what will be a very exciting conference!


Monday, December 18, 2006

More Blogging By Monteney

Posh Eaten by Rogue T Rex
Image created by Lauren age 9 for a tabloid front cover.
Hello I am the Peter mentioned in Jackie's post. Since the DinoBlog we have continued to use a variety of web 2:0 applications to present our work. One of the reasons for using Blogger was that it was a public site and I felt that the children needed to learn about and use internet safety rules within a 'real world' context. The children are using a variety of social networking sites in their own homes with little or no parental controls. If schools teach internet safety always within the protective 'bubble' of an LEA Firewall, we will be failing to provide our children with the skills necessary to keep them safe outside this bubble.
We don't teach road safety to our children and then never let them cross the road.
The children love the vehicle of blogging etc to get their work out onto the internet and share with a much wider audience than just their teacher or even peers.
Best of all they can share it with their parents.
Other Links:

Monday, November 20, 2006

Critical blogging!

Peter, one of the teachers in this Critical Literacies project, has been doing some very interesting work using blogs with a Year 4 class (children aged 8 and 9). You can see one of the blogs at:

How did this work develop critical literacy practices? Drawing on Luke and Freebody’s model (1999), the activity enabled the pupils to:

· Break the code of texts: children drew on their knowledge of spelling, grammar, understanding of genre and understanding of visual grammar in the construction of the blogs.
· Participate in the meanings of text: children composed meaningful texts in collaboration with others, drawing on their cultural resources.
· Use texts functionally: children used the blogs for different purposes (follow the links from the blog above to the 'All about us' or 'Dinosaur pictures' blogs for example) and were able to determine fitness for purpose. In developing the blogs, they understood the way blogs worked, the varied social and cultural functions they perform.
· Critically analyze and transform texts: children were able to analyse critically each other’s blog posts. They also drew critically on a range of web-based texts as they developed links and images for their posts.

It's exciting stuff. And now they are in Year 5, the pupils are becoming expert at blogging - watch this space!


Thursday, November 16, 2006

Global resources

Finding useful resources for facilitating critical literacies work is normally no problem - the stuff of everyday life provides plenty of material ripe for deconstruction. However, there are also valuable collections of materials on the web, and these pages would be an appropriate place to provide links to these materials for each other. The resources available on this site, International Networks Archive, which is tracing the impact of globalisation, includes downloadable files with statistics on issues such as capital flows, arms, migration and so on. This site is also useful for work on critical global issues, as it pulls together 100 key words and images that attempt to capture a single moment in time in world news. The words and images change on an hourly basis. It would be useful for pupils to compile their own bank of images and words that capture current global issues - how would these compare across the classrooms in this project?


Wednesday, October 25, 2006

No profit left behind?

Thanks to Allan Luke for alerting us to this story about the Bush family profiting from the 'No Child Left Behind' Act.

In England, the government are currently consulting on the development of a quality assurance scheme for commercial phonics programmes, given the recommendations made in the Rose Review Report about the value of synthetic phonics programmes. How many of those making representations to the Rose Review committee about the need to promote synthetic phonics will be able to profit from government endorsement of commercial phonics programmes, I wonder? A useful critical literacy project in schools would be to monitor this carefully...