Tensions and Challenges in Enacting Critical Literacy Pedagogy



This chapter depicts the tensions and challenges that we faced in the process of enacting critical literacy pedagogy in the classroom. It uncovers the tacit assumptions underlying the different dispositions and perspectives of classroom community members. This chapter also describes the contextual and institutional constraints in actualizing critical literacy pedagogy. The challenges include structuralistic binarism and cultural essentialism perceived by students, students’ perceived notion of “critical” as too confrontational and too political, and time and institutional constraints faced by both teachers and students in and out of the classroom. Further, I discuss my balancing act as a critical pedagogue and facilitator in the teacher education classroom. Disrupting students’ beliefs, assumptions, and knowledge is uncomfortable for the teacher when she values a sense of community and care within the classroom. However, the making of third space inevitably involves continuing modifications to subject positions, both of teachers and students. It is evident that identity formation is not analogous to harmony and consent; rather, such process is often painful, conflicted, and acrimonious. Without careful background work and critical dialogue, student learning can only result in interpretations that fit into their previously learned frameworks.


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© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Curriculum and TeachingThe University of KansasLawrenceUSA

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