Critical literacy and critically reflective writing: navigating gender and sexual diversity

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

In this article, I draw on Janks’ territory beyond reason as well as literature on (critically) reflective writing to explore how a space for personal, affective writing in the classroom might enable teachers, students and learners to 1) come to terms with gender as a social practice, 2) locate themselves in the relations of power, marginalisation and subversion being explored, and 3) negotiate the internal contradictions that come with personal and social transformation. The author presents and unpacks how 2nd-year undergraduate Bachelor of Education (B.Ed.) students at a prominent university in Johannesburg, South Africa, unpacked issues of gender and sexual diversity in a critical literacy course. This article focuses on students’ completion of a reflective writing task but is situated in a broader study on critical literacy and gender and sexual diversity. The findings suggest the need for sustained critically reflective writing in the classroom and continued research in critical literacy as both a rationalist and affective project. Furthermore, the findings suggest ways in which critically reflective writing was used to create a space where students could place themselves into the content and relations of power being studied and identify and unpack the ways in which discourses of power have informed their own identities over time, with the intent to develop the capacity to position themselves in more socially conscious ways. This study therefore illustrates only a fraction of how students might use reflective writing to come to terms with controversial topics, place themselves in the systems of power, marginalisation or subversion being explored, and negotiate the internal contradictions of transformation. However, the data also suggests that there is potential for this practice to have a greater role in classroom practice, a deeper effect on learners’ understanding of self and society, and further research on the impact of critical reflection in the classroom.
LanguageEnglish
Number of pages18
JournalEnglish Teaching: Practice and Critique
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 30 Jul 2019

Fingerprint

literacy
gender
classroom
subversion
student
bachelor
student teacher
Critical Literacy
Sexual
Reflective Writing
university
discourse
education
Subversion
Marginalization
Affective

Keywords

  • critical literacy
  • reflective writing
  • gender and sexual diversity

Cite this

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abstract = "In this article, I draw on Janks’ territory beyond reason as well as literature on (critically) reflective writing to explore how a space for personal, affective writing in the classroom might enable teachers, students and learners to 1) come to terms with gender as a social practice, 2) locate themselves in the relations of power, marginalisation and subversion being explored, and 3) negotiate the internal contradictions that come with personal and social transformation. The author presents and unpacks how 2nd-year undergraduate Bachelor of Education (B.Ed.) students at a prominent university in Johannesburg, South Africa, unpacked issues of gender and sexual diversity in a critical literacy course. This article focuses on students’ completion of a reflective writing task but is situated in a broader study on critical literacy and gender and sexual diversity. The findings suggest the need for sustained critically reflective writing in the classroom and continued research in critical literacy as both a rationalist and affective project. Furthermore, the findings suggest ways in which critically reflective writing was used to create a space where students could place themselves into the content and relations of power being studied and identify and unpack the ways in which discourses of power have informed their own identities over time, with the intent to develop the capacity to position themselves in more socially conscious ways. This study therefore illustrates only a fraction of how students might use reflective writing to come to terms with controversial topics, place themselves in the systems of power, marginalisation or subversion being explored, and negotiate the internal contradictions of transformation. However, the data also suggests that there is potential for this practice to have a greater role in classroom practice, a deeper effect on learners’ understanding of self and society, and further research on the impact of critical reflection in the classroom.",
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