Promoting Critical Literacy in the EFL Context: Implementing a Project to Young Learners
Keywords:critical literacy, EFL classroom, pilot project, young learners, critical readers
AbstractIn response to the continually growing demands of this era, the society needs active members who are able to cooperate with each other and show a critical stance in what they read, see, touch, smell or come across. Thus, modern language education should aim at developing critical readers and writers. As a result, the critical literacy programs in which students are turned into active participants of their learning process and accept something after they have already remarked it, are more than necessary in the education of the 21st century. This paper outlines the rational for and the purpose of designing and implementing a thematic pilot project aiming at developing students’ critical literacy in an EFL (English as a foreign language) classroom. This pilot project was implemented to 20 Greek-speaking students of the 5th primary school class (aged 11 years old) who had been learning English for 4 four years. It was initiated with the purpose to provide insights into developing students’ critical literacy skills as well as their four language skills in the foreign language. The project was carried out in 25 two hour sessions focused on the thematic area of the “Sports”. This topic was selected because of the nature of the sports and their popularity among the teenagers. Moreover, sports are a ‘controversial’ subject/concept that students can express different opinions and examine it from different perspectives. Special emphasis was placed on the creation of an environment promoting critical thinking and critical stance. Moreover, an attempt was made for a pleasant and creative foreign language learning environment to be developed, where students actually could enhance personal and interpersonal skills. In order to estimate the feasibility of this project, we used three basic tools a) a pre- and a post- test about the language assessment, b) journals kept by the teacher/researcher throughout the intervention and c) structured interviews conducted by the researcher with students individually to record the students’ different perspectives based on a text. The findings showed a significant improvement of the students’ language skills in EFL, as well as their critical thinking and ability to examine a text from different perspectives.
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