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ERIC Number: EJ1050185
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2014-Dec
Pages: 17
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: EISSN-1175-8708
"Spaces of Action": Teaching Critical Literacy for Community Empowerment in the Age of Neoliberalism
Goodman, Steven; Cocca, Carolyn
English Teaching: Practice and Critique, v13 n3 p210-226 Dec 2014
The low educational achievement of our poorest youth is fundamentally a political problem. Against a background of interconnected gaps in educational achievement, health and wealth, and political participation, this paper calls for a liberatory educational praxis that disrupts these reinforcing inequalities. This is a critical literacy grounded in situated learning practices in what we call public "spaces of action", which may be in school or community settings. Engaging students in community inquiries into the social problems wrought by neoliberal policies, this expanded notion of a critical literacy empowers them with greater confidence and efficacy to break through cultures of silence and form new identities as agents of self-representation and change. We discuss two cases of apprenticeship-like youth media programs that promote civic engagement in communities with virtually identical high poverty and low high school graduation rates: one rural and southern (the Appalachian Media Institute in Kentucky) and one urban and northeastern (the Educational Video Center in New York). Through the process of counter narrative, documentary storytelling and bearing witness to the social problems in their neighbourhoods, students partner with community activists, apply critical literacies, and develop agentive identities as documentary journalists, media artists, and critical citizens affirming their voice and place in their community in solidarity with others struggling for more humane living conditions.
Wilf Malcolm Institute for Educational Research, University of Waikato. PB 3105, Hamilton, New Zealand. Tel: +64-7-858-5171; Fax: +64-7-838-4712; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: High Schools; Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Kentucky; New York
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A