Talking critical literacy into being: The textual features of teachers’ interview talk and classroom talk.

My analysis of the textual features of the interview and classroom observation data indicates that aspects of Access and Domination orientations were most prominent in the teachers’ talk and practice followed by aspects of Diversity. Any significant Design, where students are cast as re-designers or inventors drawing on a range of multimodal semiotic systems (Janks, 2010; Jewitt, 2008; Kress & van Leeuwen, 2001), was almost non-existent except for the design potential in one teacher’s Year 12 written political speech task.

In the following section, I describe and interpret data to show how I arrived at these conclusions. What is also of interest is how the teachers weave certain orientations together within their network of practices. This aligns with Janks’ point about the interdependence of the orientations to teaching critical literacy. In looking closely at the language choices the teachers make, CDA can help identify this complex interplay. Excerpts from both interview and classroom practice data are presented in this chapter to represent articulated knowledge in both interviews and enactment and thereby show complexity in the data. The “case” under investigation in this study is the teaching of critical literacy in senior high school English with EAL/D learners. Therefore, data presented in this chapter represent the four teachers’ understandings of critical literacy across the two sites.

During initial analysis, it seemed apparent from my coding and memo writing that the data were strongly indicating an Access Model of Critical Literacy (Janks, 2010). Since Access is to do with teaching powerful genres and dominant literacy practices such as genre teaching (Janks 2010), I used my knowledge of the context and literature to identify the occurrence of words pertaining to “genre” or it’s like (“essay”, the particular genre in question e.g., “report”, or “model”). Using rudimentary quantitative analysis (MS Word “find” tool), I ascertained the frequency of language use that constitutes an Access Model across the data. I then double-checked the use of those words in the context of the teachers’ interview speech (raw data). In all, there were 608 references to “genre” or text type, in some form, across the 16 interviews and 12 lessons audio and video-recorded. This equates roughly to 28 hours of data or 1680 minutes. I divided 1680 minutes by 608 to find that there were, on average, two references to “genre” per minute in all of the data. Thus, an Access model appeared strongly in their talk. However, further analysis of the teachers’ language choices, using the CDA analytic tools outlined above, brings to light this orientation more delicately. It shows how Access interacts with other aspects of the model within a network of practices that make up the construction of critical literacy with EAL/D learners in senior high school in these two sites. The exposition of the analysis will proceed from each data extract to analysis using SFL to describe language choices, CDA to interpret this, followed by discussion of the data in relation to Janks’ model (2010).

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