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ERIC Number: EJ909114
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Dec
Pages: 7
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 11
ISSN: ISSN-0098-6291
How Do We See What We See? Pedagogical Lacunae and Their Pitfalls in the Classroom
Rich, Jennifer A.
Teaching English in the Two-Year College, v38 n2 p177-183 Dec 2010
In the context of the home culture, culturally relevant pedagogy aims to make young people "reflect hard on their choices about work and politics, and encourage them to become sensitive to issues of inequality and suffering, and social justice." That is, this pedagogy works to instill a critical consciousness in the students, one where they can read the cultural sign-systems that surround them with a healthy sense of skepticism. In order to forward this larger goal, the author assigns an advertising analysis assignment to her first-year cluster (FYC) students. As people know, advertisements are a key indicator of cultural norms: they may, in fact, determine norms as much as reflect them. By having students "read" or decode the gender scripts encoded in advertisements--along with the other cultural scripts around race, class, success, and family--students are usually able to see that as much as things change (on the surface) they also stay the same (beneath the surface). This assignment is a success in the sense that students are able to detect the cultural scripts operating in the ad (for the most part). Nevertheless, this assignment illustrates a general failing or pedagogical lacuna that the author believes is present in even those who work within a teaching context closely tied to the students' own culture(s) and on which she would like to focus in this article. The author considers pedagogical aporias in teaching students to perform critical analyses of nontraditional "texts," such as advertisements and shopping mall display windows. (Contains 3 notes.)
National Council of Teachers of English. 1111 West Kenyon Road, Urbana, IL 61801-1096. Tel: 877-369-6283; Tel: 217-328-3870; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: Teachers
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A