Making waves with critical literacy: A teacher researcher study around the texts, contexts, and recontextualizations of an upper middle class public high school

Carolyn Fortuna, University of Rhode Island

Abstract

This dissertation is a teacher researcher qualitative study that explores the work of critical literacy in an upper middle class public high school. As a participant and an observer, I studied how a confluence of authority, privilege, curriculum, and pedagogy created context and shaped the meaning and quality of our collective literacy learning experiences. Using the tools of teacher research through narrative inquiry, my study traces school authority figures' reproduction of dominant ideologies, my struggles as a social justice educator to break through those definitions of "normal" with a privileged student population, and the hope that resulted when my students were able to embrace multimodal, multiliterate, and transcultural learning experiences as conduits for humility and possible equity for all. ^ I conducted the study with five rosters of students in my classroom across the 2007 school year. The data emerged from my descriptive and reflective teacher journal, audiotapes, videotapes, personal communications, and student artifacts. ^ The study reveals how, against a federally-mandated backdrop like NCLB, education can all too easily be reduced to decoding and encoding print-centric, high canonical texts unless teachers infuse sociocultural, multimodal pedagogy around culture and identity. While often experiencing waves of tension, my students were able to challenge the dominant discourses in upper middle class public education only when they recontextualized their own modalities, literacies, and cultures as part of learning experiences. When they did so, youth produced and consumed their own critical youth texts, gained youth power across many dimensions, and began a journey toward awareness of social justice for all. ^

Subject Area

Anthropology, Cultural|Education, Secondary|Education, Curriculum and Instruction

Recommended Citation

Carolyn Fortuna, "Making waves with critical literacy: A teacher researcher study around the texts, contexts, and recontextualizations of an upper middle class public high school" (2010). Dissertations and Master's Theses (Campus Access). Paper AAI3415511.
http://digitalcommons.uri.edu/dissertations/AAI3415511

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