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Home arrow Education arrow Early Childhood Education in Aotearoa New Zealand: History, Pedagogy, and Liberation

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The development of critical literacy

Critical literacy frameworks are active processes in the co-construction of knowledge. One cannot understand messages without acting on them either internally (by thinking about them) or externally (doing something about them). Descriptive acts are domesticating. It is what children think and do that shifts the teaching learning nexus to a critical frame, where interpretative analysis represents the internalized action of text (the thinking about text). So a critical literacy act is internalized action (the thought) into external agency (the action) during the co-construction of knowledge in real meaningful contexts. As children engage with text, through their discussions, questions, and answers, their understandings are deepened. This is about children and adults actively engaging with one another in a deepening understanding of the symbols that flood young children’s worlds. In the dominant hierarchical (teacher in control) approach to education of Indigenous children they have been coerced into taking on board the dominant view point of who they are. That process is dehumanizing. In creative literacy acts when children actively voice their own experiences, views, thinking, desires, likes, and dislikes they are voicing their own realities and shaping their own identities. It is this process that can present as a challenge to the unequal power relations as alternative perspectives and ways of operating are activated. The Ruaimoko project was just that, a critical literacy act. It is this storytelling through our treasured Maori language that the tamariki/mokopuna (children and grandchildren) can access the archive of Maori Indigenous world views.

 
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