Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Voice, Solidarity, Resistance: Exploring Critical Discourse and Critical Literacy Pedagogy in the High School English Classroom
by Fiorini, Franco, Ed.D., University of Pennsylvania, 2019, 428; 13815291
Abstract (Summary)

This research, conducted with two sections of students enrolled in eleventh grade English Language Arts (ELA) classes at an urban, public magnet high school, provides a critical narrative of one English Language Arts teacher’s approach toward enacting a critical literacy pedagogy that seeks to advance principles of equity and social justice. Working from theoretical and methodological frameworks that value the roles that adolescents’ lives and selves occupy in the project of critical pedagogy, this study contributes a series of close readings of classroom discourse that focus on what occurs when one teacher researcher structures a literacy curriculum around the theme of the individual in society and then investigates the writing and talk that emerges. Analysis of discourse is conducted through a blended framework that incorporates lenses drawn from the traditions of critical literacy and critical pedagogy, literary criticism, and the social sciences.

Findings of this study reaffirm the value that critical approaches to literacy education can have for fostering students’ journeys towards development of a Freirean critical consciousness. Samples of classroom dialogue and student writing collected over the first five months of an academic year capture students’ critical explorations of a) their own and others’ identities and lived experiences, b) their past and present orientations towards literacy and literacy education, and c) their negotiations over how to frame and express their private and political selves. The story of teaching and learning at the center of this study extends current work in the field of literacy education by capturing how students used opportunities for discussion and writing to engage in negotiations over silence and voice, individuality and solidarity, and complacency and resistance, all concepts that researchers have identified as salient to the many challenges to and possibilities for projects in literacy education and critical pedagogy. Analyses of these negotiations reveal the value that an analytic framework for discourse analysis that integrates the concepts of passion, ingenuity, and voice can have for teacher researchers in literacy education who aim to engage in critical interpretations of classroom discourse as a pathway for improving the intellectual rigor of classroom practices and for seeking social justice ends in education that honor adolescents’ identities and capacities.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Campano, Gerald H.
Commitee: Ravitch, Sharon M., Simon, Robert M.
School: University of Pennsylvania
Department: Reading, Writing, Literacy
School Location: United States -- Pennsylvania
Source: DAI-A 80/11(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Language arts, Secondary education, Education philosophy
Keywords: Classroom discourse, Critical literacy pedagogy, Critical narrative, Practitioner inquiry, Teacher research, Voice
Publication Number: 13815291
ISBN: 978-1-392-21015-4
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