Critical Literacy in Adult Education

Critical literacy in adult education can empower and inspire literacy learners. Critical literacy involves active reading that goes beyond simply absorbing information. The reader questions the author’s biases, opinions and motivations with a critical eye. Critical literacy broadens a reader’s perspective to include the context of the work. The reader also thinks about other perspectives that may be misinterpreted or missing from the text. By incorporating critical literacy into adult education, learners are more empowered and inspired to confront the inequalities and injustices they and others experience. It is a discussion about the relationship between language and the power it can hold.

“Critical literacy is a lens, mindset, or disposition for both teaching and learning. It is not something educators simply add on to classroom instruction, but rather a way of being in relation to texts, our selves, each other, and the world.” – Sarah Driessens

Lewison, Flint and Van Sluys list four dimensions of critical literacy:

  1. Disrupting the commonplace
  2. Interrogating multiple viewpoints
  3. Focusing on sociopolitical issues
  4. Taking action and promoting social justice

The four dimensions are interrelated and work together in successful critical literacy instruction.

How will you incorporate critical literacy into your teaching? See the list of resources below to learn more about critical literacy and how it can be an important part of adult literacy instruction.

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* These titles are available to borrow from the Decoda literacy library.

Critical literacy is closely tied to media literacy. Check out these interesting and informative media literacy posts:

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