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Loh, C. E. (2010, February). Reading the word and the world: Critically and culturally reflexive conversations in the LangLit classroom. Paper presented at the NIE Literature Symposium on “Re-visioning literature education”, Singapore.
Reading does not merely consist of decoding the written word or language; rather, it is preceded and intertwined with knowledge of the world. Language and reality are dynamically interconnected. The understanding attained by a critical reading of a text implies perceiving the relationship between text and context. (Freire & Macedo, 1987, p. 29)
This chapter discusses how literature can be used in the langlit classroom towards learning about language and the world. Literary texts are rich sources for conversations about culturally relevant issues (Applebee, 1996), and if well-chosen, can become discursive spaces for thinking and talking about what is critical and meaningful in today’s world. I argue that literary texts are rich sources for learning how to read the word and the world (Freire, 1991; Freire & Macedo, 1987), and that it is important to teach students to read in what I term a critically and culturally reflexive manner. I then use Tan Hwee Hwee’s (2007) Mid-Autumn, a short story from Island Voices: A Collection of Short Stories from Singapore (Poon & Sim, 2007) to illustrate how awareness of language and worldviews can provide a framework for thinking about the use of literature in the language classroom.
This paper was presented at the NIE Literature Symposium on “Re-visioning literature education”, held in Singapore on 26 Feb 2010
Appears in Collections:Conference Papers

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