The study investigates how 26 Taiwanese non-English-major freshmen responded to an English learning activity based on the notion of critical literacy. Implemented during the 2006 fall semester, this theme-based activity combined different types of learning input, including a classroom weblog, a Chinese news report on gender education, a song in English titled “If I Were a Man,” classroom discussion of teenage roles in Taiwan, and an assignment in which
students were required to write an alternative version of the song from the perspective of a student of the opposite sex. In order to examine how students reflected on this theme-based learning instruction as a social act, two research questions were formulated: how did the students respond to the activity designed from a critical literacy perspective? and (2) how did the students change their perceptions of language learning and teaching? Data included the instructor's journal entries, students' artifacts, students' reflection papers, and students' classroom discussions. The present study shows that students in the classroom were situated in a social practice; they were provided many opportunities not only to learn the four basic skills of a language, but also to consider issues related to themselves and their society. This study suggests that educators should promote learning by providing opportunities for students to succeed through their multiple ways of knowing. Moreover, the investigation of the classroom activity based on the notion of critical literacy leads to theoretical and teaching implications for the implementation of critical literacy practices in Taiwan.
|Keywords:||Critical Literacy, Social Practice, Theme-based Instruction, Gender Education, Pop Music in the EFL Classroom|
Assistant Professor, Department of Foreign Languages and Literature, Tunghai University, Taichung, Taiwan
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