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The Learning Conference 2003

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Presentation Details


The Practical Politics of Critical Literacy: Disrupting Compliance in Secondary Students

Lynda Pinnington.

The material presented stems from a critical literacy research project conducted in a disadvantaged high school in Sydney's south-western suburbs. The focus of the research was to examine 1. The dynamics of teaching Year 9 students to move beyond a cultural heritage model of compliant interpretation to critically challenging the ‘viewing’ position established in Peter Weir's film, Dead Poets Society.
2. The nexus between critical theory and the teaching of academic writing registers.
3.The ethics of using 'right-wing' pedagogies to achieve subversive outcomes.

The presenters will examine the pedagogical processes of moving very unconfident students along the ‘subject’ English response continuum from 'spoken-like' personal evaluations through to the much more academically difficult genres of Interpretation and Critical Challenge. The workshop will address the vexing teaching questions of:

- What are some strategies teachers can use to get students to identify ideology in text?
- What are the devices, codes, conventions or techniques that realise this ideology?
- How can teachers use these devices etc to get students to understand the reading/viewing position that the text naturalises?
- How do teachers get students to construct alternative readings of the text?
- How do you get students to articulate their written responses in a formal register?


Lynda Pinnington  (Australia)
Head Teacher, English
Ambarvale High School
NSW Department of Education and Training

Lynda Pinnington is head Teacher, English at Ambarvale HS. Her research interests include beginning high school teachers and pedagogies that improve the educational outcomes of disadvantaged students.

  • Critical literacy
  • Politics of literacy
  • academic registers

(60 min Workshop, English)