Monday, April 9, 2012

Questions for April 14 and Links

First of all, the main webpage for The Critical Thinking Consortium has some resources that might be of help to you.  You can find various lesson plan ideas and a few handouts and worksheets (though many of them are geared toward Canadian students, so you may have to adapt them if you wish to use them in your own teaching settings).  The summaries of critical challenges can be found here.  Just look to the left side of the webpage to find links to various grades.

Finally...  Gee....

There is a lot of info in his chapter, and I don't expect you to master everything he's said.  Below you can find a short list of questions that I'm hoping will guide our discussion on Saturday.  In some cases the answer is explicitly stated in the reading, in other cases, you'll have to do a little creative thinking / contextualizing.  There is no need to answer all these in writing this week, but I would like you to be ready to discuss them in class.

- The traditional definition of literacy is "the ability to read and (sometimes) write."  This locates literacy within individual cognition.  Gee is explicitly trying to lay down the framework for a social and discursive definition of literacy.  How would you define this 'new' conception of literacy?  (pp. 39-41 should help)

- According to Gee, what effects does formal schooling seem to have on the social organization of society?  What is the significance of Gee's belief that 'literacy' is a social issue rather than an individual / cognitive issue, and how does it explain the social functioning of formal schooling?  (pp. 23-25)

- What is "the literacy myth"?
[*How might the literacy myth be understood in relation to English education in Korea?]

- What is "Plato's dilemma"?  What practical implications does Plato's dilemma have for teachers interested in developing a Freirian pedagogy?

- What does the Scribner and Cole research imply about the effects of literacy? (pp. 33-35)

- What does Gee mean when he states, rather boldly, that the choice in any literacy program will always be 'to what sort of social group do I intend to apprentice the learner?' (p. 44)

That's it for now.  I may amend these or shorten them over the week, but this should be enough to get you started.  Happy reading and have fun with the lesson plans....  

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