Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Critical literacy development in a college-level English reading class in Taiwan
by Ko, Mei-yun Barbara, Ph.D., Indiana University, 2010, 288; 3397481
Abstract (Summary)

This case study explored a critical literacy-oriented English as a Foreign Language (EFL) reading class in Taiwan for one semester. The inquiry included how an EFL college teacher incorporated critical literacy in an English reading curriculum, how such instruction helped the EFL students critically engage with texts, and how EFL learners' English proficiency, English learning experience and EFL learner identities influenced their critical literacy development and reactions toward critical literacy-oriented instruction.

Participants included the course instructor and 39 English-major students taking the course. Data sources included classroom observation, audio-taped class discussion, student reflective essays on readings, a course evaluation survey, and interviews with the teacher. At the end of the course, four students were selected as case studies for further exploration. Major data collected from these four individual cases included three interviews and a group discussion of a local news article.

The class discussion data were examined through Freebody and Luke's (1990) Four Resources Model of reading. Findings show that the instruction balanced language skills teaching and critical literacy teaching, engaging students in the four practices, i.e., code-breaking practices, text-meaning practices, pragmatic practices and critical practices. Student reflective essays were analyzed using the critical discourse analysis method. Fairclough's (1992) three-dimensional model of discourse was adopted to show the dialectical relationship between discourse and the social context. The results indicate the majority of students still reproduced conservative discourse in their responses to the text. But some students displayed egalitarian or liberatory discourses.

Regarding English proficiency and English learning experience, the results of analyses show that students’English proficiency level and English learning experience shaped their reading beliefs or EFL identities and also influenced their views toward critical literacy instruction, but its influence on critical literacy development was not noticeable. The four cases, with varying English proficiency, all strived to read critically but in different ways. Therefore, the study suggests ways of using the EFL context as a locus for developing students' critical literacy, thus helping them to be active critical global citizens.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Nyikos, Martha, Pugh, Sharon L.
Commitee: Davis, Stuart, Flinders, David J.
School: Indiana University
Department: School of Education
School Location: United States -- Indiana
Source: DAI-A 71/04, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Language arts, Literacy, Reading instruction
Keywords: China, Critical discourse analysis, Critical literacy, EFL, English as a foreign language, Reading, Taiwan
Publication Number: 3397481
ISBN: 9781109693775
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