Critical Literacy

Much of my reflection questions here draw on the "Four Dimensions of Critical Literacy" (Research #7)
  1. Disrupting the commonplace
  2. Interrogating multiple viewpoints
  3. Focusing on sociopolitical issues
  4. Taking action and promoting social justice

The thing is, many artist claim to be educators of youth.  Their agenda often hits on points 1 to 4 as well.  And convincingly.  They're bashing politicians (#KanyeWestOnGeorgeBush) and singing about waving flags.  But teachers can turn it around and teach students about media literacy:  to take much of what they hear and see with a grain of salt.  Because often they take these messages literally.

So what's the difference between an underground rapper and a Master's graduate?  Dinner table debates are the worst.  So a couple years back, my brother quotes me Immortal Technique and some conspiracy theory he advocates.  I tune it all out without telling him my honest thoughts.  If I didn't read it from an academic source, I couldn't believe it.  Months later, I have a very similar conversation with a co-worker - a Master's graduate in American political history from UofT.  He told me not to rule out conspiracy theories all together.

Artists often do have legitimacy to their words, but there's always room for investigation and critical interrogation.


      Anonymous said...

      Music plays such a huge role in the life of a teenager. Hopefully they'll come to know real lyrics and realize the importance of the message behind the beat.

      Amira said...

      Definitely. Unpacking messages and understanding the motives and intentions behind them are difficult for teens sometimes, especially when they idolize the artists. Often, they don't even question what's being said.