Critical Literacy

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Critical Literacy

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Critical Literacy


Literacy refers to the ability of an individual to read information in text format in an active and reflective manner with an aim to properly comprehend factors involved with power, inequality, as well as injustice that exists in human relationships. Critical literacy, a term coined by Karl Marxist, which refers to the analysis of text and encourage a reader to uncover the message that author is attempting to transmit. This term especially applies in the world of literature, where every single line demands explanation. In simple words it can be said that critical literacy refers to instructional approach that demands employing critical perspective towards text. There are numbers of opinion on critical literacy that offers various pedagogical approaches to teach and learning.

The advocates of the critical literacy argue that the term should not be limit to of understanding the literature in terms of decoding the message, but to view the text from critical point of view and discuss it. Published literature is a form of medium that is used for the transmission of message using a particular code accepted in the society (Robinson & Robinson, 2003). Development of critical literacy skills is crucial as it aid not only in decoding of the messages but also helps to interpret the message using critical approach. Thus, facilitators of critical literacy aim at developing and encouraging students interrogate issues pertaining to the society, institutions such as families, education, equity, and poverty with an aim to critique structures. These structures serve as norms, which demonstrate how societal members do not experience these norms.

Socio-Cultural Approach to Literacy

In order to understand critical literacy, a better understanding of Socio-Cultural approach is crucial. Socio cultural approach basically deals with the interpretation of the concept presented in a literature in two social and cultural contexts. The socio-cultural approach to literacy is vital to understand as this will contribute to highlight the importance of critical literacy. Social approach interprets literature as social practices which are characterized by following factors:

Social values, norms, beliefs and meanings are the influential factors which are reflected on language and literature.

Social factors of critical literacy also elucidate the way a language and terms should be employed in writing.

It has been recorded in various studies that the process of acquiring knowledge (i.e. literacy) is supported by the interactions of individuals within their families, friends, peers, and community. The socialization process in a community helps people to acquire new sets of knowledge and information which encourage thinking, interpreting and memorizing things. This process contributes in increasing literacy of people, which clarifies that literacy is something that people “do” rather than an objective. It is a segment of social practices that people involve in through engaging and interacting with members of our particular society and community.

Lonsdale and McCurry argues on the basis of ideological model of literacy that if literacy is to be considered as a social practice then polices that support needs of individual are to be examined critically and educational policies ...
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