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Title: Critical literacy in Singapore social studies: 'weaving the fabric of a nation'
Authors: Churchill, Karina
Issue Date: Apr-2006
Citation: Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association, San Francisco, 2006
Abstract: How do we teach the critical in new nation states in Asia? Models of critical literacy and
critical pedagogy and its constituent theories have proliferated in the United States,
Canada, the U.K., Europe and Australia where they are taken variously to involve text
criticism, hermeneutics, post-structuralist theory, issues of power and ideology, discourse
analysis, and agendas of race, gender, social justice and equity (see Pennycook, 2001).
How do such models transfer and travel to educational systems with very different
histories, cultural traditions and student bodies? This study looks at attempts to teach
„the critical‟ in Singapore Social Studies using the principles of Activity Theory
(Engeström, 1987, 1990, 1999). It focuses on pedagogic practices of critique in the
context of an agenda of educational reform for enhancing cultural and other forms of
capital in global economies. It seeks to recognize the complex interaction of diverse
identities, practices and resources involved in the development of this enterprise as
teachers and students engage with „critical choices‟ across discursive fields in dialectical
tension in the Social Studies classroom. Taking a case study approach, it examines texts
such as classroom interaction data, teacher and student interviews, alongside notions of
what counts as critical practice. How these notions are culturally located and realized
within „local‟ contexts is considered (Geertz, 1983; Canagarajah, 2002).
Project number: CRP 21/03 AK
Appears in Collections:CRPP - Conference Papers

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