Localities in critical literacy practice: A critical review of the frameworks


  • Nita Novianti University of Tasmania;Universitas Pendidikan Indonesia http://orcid.org/0000-0002-6136-4831
  • Angela Thomas University of Tasmania
  • Vinh To University of Tasmania




classroom practice, critical literacy, framework, localities


A large number of frameworks and models have been created to help translate the highly philosophical theory of critical literacy into practice. How these frameworks have been translated into classroom practice is an area much unexplored. The present study critically reviewed the frameworks of critical literacy applied in the classroom practices of language arts and language education within the last twenty years. Adapting the classification put forward by Luke and Woods (2009), the review divides the frameworks into critical pedagogy, textual, and practical approaches. In practice, these frameworks defy rigid divisions between critical and textual approaches because text still plays an important role in both approaches. The more recent frameworks are increasingly embracing more key tenets of critical literacy, but the tenet of localities still has no place in these frameworks. Nonetheless, a small number of classroom practices have carefully included localities in the design and enactment of critical literacy.


Alford, J. H. (2014). "Well, hang on, they're actually much better than that!": Disrupting dominant discourses of deficit about English language learners in senior high school English. English Teaching-Practice and Critique, 13(3), 71-88.

Alford, J. H., & Jetnikoff, A. (2016). Orientations to critical literacy for English as an additional language or dialect (EAL/D) learners: A case study of four teachers of senior English. Australian Journal of Language and Literacy, 39(2), 111-123.

Anwaruddin, S. M. (2015). Why critical literacy should turn to ‘the affective turn’: making a case for critical affective literacy. Discourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education, 37(3), 381-396. doi:10.1080/01596306.2015.1042429

Bacon, C. K. (2017). Multilanguage, multipurpose: A literature review, synthesis, and framework for critical literacies in English language teaching. Journal of Literacy Research, 49(3), 424-453. doi: 10.1177/1086296x17718324

Behrman, E. H. (2006). Teaching about language, power, and text: A review of classroom practices that support critical literacy. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 49(6), 490-498. doi: 10.1598/Jaal.49.6.4

Brown, K. (1998). Developing critical literacy. National Centre for English Language Teaching and Research.

Christensen, L. (2017). Critical literacy and our students' lives. Voices from the Middle, 24(3), 16-19.

Clarke, L. W., & Whitney, E. (2009). Walking in their shoes: Using multiple-perspectives texts as a bridge to critical literacy. Reading Teacher, 62(6), 530-534. doi: 10.1598/Rt.62.6.7

Comber, B. (2006). Literacy, place, and pedagogies of possibility. Routledge.

Dominguez, C. (2019). Critical awareness of media and teacher education: An experience with Colombian ELT pre-service teachers. Journal of Media Literacy Education, 11(1), 32-51. doi: 10.23860/jmle-2019-11-1-2

Ekvall, U. (2013). Towards critical literacy? A national test and prescribed classroom preparations. Education Inquiry (Co-Action Publishing), 4(2), 243-260. doi: 10.3402/edui.v4i2.22072

Esau, O. (2014). Enhancing critical multicultural literacy amongst pre-service teachers in a Bachelor of Education programme. Per Linguam: A Journal of Language Learning, 30(3), 69. doi: 10.5785/30-3-595

Fairclough, N. (Ed.). (1992). Critical language awareness. Longman.

Fajardo, M. F. (2015). A review of critical literacy beliefs and practices of English language learners and teachers. University of Sydney Papers in TESOL, 10, 29-56.

Freebody, P., & Luke, A. (1990). Literacies programs: Debates and demands in cultural context. Prospect: An Australian Journal of TESOL, 5(3), 7-16.

Freire, P. (1970/1993/2005). Pedagogy of the oppressed (M. B. Ramos, Trans.). Continuum.

Garofalo, M. (2013). The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: Teaching critical media literacy with Disney. Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences, 106, 2822-2831. doi: 10.1016/j.sbspro.2013.12.325

Gordon, C. T. (2019). Trusting students' voices in critical English education. Journal of Language and Literacy Education, 15(1), 1-32.

Guest, G., MacQueen, K. M., & Namey, E. E. (2012). Applied thematic analysis. SAGE. doi: 10.4135/9781483384436

Gustine, G. G., & Insani, H. N. (2019). English students’ experience of reframing narrative stories from a critical literacy perspective. Indonesian Journal of Applied Linguistics, 8(3), 691-696. doi: 10.17509/ijal.v8i3.15254

Harman, R. M., & Simmons, A. (2014). Critical systemic functional linguistics and literary narratives in subject English: Promoting language awareness and social action among K-12 students. In L. C. D. Oliveira & J. G. Iddings (Eds.), Genre studies and language in education (pp. 75-91). Equinox. doi: 10.13140/RG.2.1.2457.8326

Harwood, D. (2008). Deconstructing and reconstructing Cinderella: Theoretical defense of critical literacy for young children. Language & Literacy: A Canadian Educational E-Journal, 10(2), 1-13. doi: 10.20360/G21015

Hayik, R. (2015a). Addressing religious diversity through children's literature: An "English as a Foreign Language" classroom in Israel. International Journal of Multicultural Education, 17(2), 92-106. doi: 10.18251/ijme.v17i2.911

Hayik, R. (2015b). Diverging from traditional paths: Reconstructing fairy tales in the EFL classroom. Diaspora, Indigenous, and Minority Education, 9(4), 221-236. doi: 10.1080/15595692.2015.1044084

Hayik, R. (2016a). What does this story say about females? Challenging gender-biased texts in the English-language classroom. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 59(4), 409-419.

Hayik, R. (2016b). What does this story say about females? Challenging gender-biased texts in the English-language classroom. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 59(4), 409-419. doi: 10.1002/jaal.468

Hendrix-Soto, A., & Wetzel, M. M. (2018). A review of critical literacies in preservice teacher education: pedagogies, shifts, and barriers. Teaching Education, 30(2), 200-216. doi: 10.1080/10476210.2018.1465034

Hinrichsen, J., & Coombs, A. (2013). The five resources of critical digital literacy: A framework for curriculum integration. Research in Learning Technology, 21, 21334. doi: 10.3402/rlt.v21.21334

Hobbs, R. (2010). Digital and media literacy: A plan of action. The Aspen Institute: Communications and Society Program.

Huang, S. Y. (2019). Postfeminist influences on fairy tales, real and imagined: A critical media literacy classroom investigation. Gender and Education, 31(6), 688-704. doi: 10.1080/09540253.2018.1467002

Huh, S. (2014). Critical literacy practices of economically privileged L2 English readers: Literacy education for globalization. English Teaching, 69(2), 97-121. doi: 10.15858/engtea.69.2.201406.97

Huh, S. (2016). Instructional model of critical literacy in an EFL context: Balancing conventional and critical literacy. Critical Inquiry in Language Studies, 13(3), 210-235. doi: 10.1080/15427587.2016.1154445

Janks, H. (2000). Domination, access, diversity and design: A synthesis for critical literacy education. Educational Review, 52(2), 175-186. doi: 10.1080/713664035

Janks, H. (2006, 8-11 July 2006). The place of design in a theory of critical literacy. AATE/ALEA conference: Voices, vibes, visions, Darwin, Australia. https://hilaryjanks.files.wordpress.com/2015/01/aate-design-darwin-2006.pdf

Janks, H. (2012). The importance of critical literacy. English Teaching-practice and critique, 11(1), 150-163.

Janks, H. (2014). Critical literacy's ongoing importance for education. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 57(5), 349-356. doi: 10.1002/jaal.260

Janks, H. (2018). Texts, identities, and ethics: Critical literacy in a post-truth world. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 62(1), 95-99. doi: 10.1002/jaal.761

Jones, S. (2006). Girls, social class and literacy: What teachers can do to make a difference. Heinemann.

Jowallah, R. (2015). Awakening students through critical literacy: Implications for teaching and learning within contemporary education. International Journal of Literacies, 21(3/4), 17-27. doi: 10.18848/2327-0136/CGP/v21i3-4/48837

Karagiannaki, E., & Stamou, A. G. (2018). Bringing critical discourse analysis into the classroom: A critical language awareness project on fairy tales for young school children. Language Awareness, 27(3), 222-242. doi: 10.1080/09658416.2018.1444046

Ko, M. Y., & Wang, T. F. (2013). EFL learners' critical literacy practices: A case study of four college students in Taiwan. Asia-Pacific Education Researcher, 22(3), 221-229. doi: 10.1007/s40299-012-0013-5

Kress, G., & van Leeuwen, T. (2001). Multimodal discourse: The modes and media of contemporary communication. Oxford University Press.

Kunnath, J. P., & Jackson, A. (2019). Developing student critical consciousness: Twitter as a tool to apply critical literacy in the English classroom. Journal of Media Literacy Education, 11(1), 52-74. doi: 10.23860/jmle-2019-11-1-3

Kuo, J. M. (2013). Implementing critical literacy for university freshmen in Taiwan through self-discovery texts. Asia-Pacific Education Researcher, 22(4), 549-557. doi: 10.1007/s40299-013-0057-1

Lau, S. M. C. (2019). Convergences and alignments between translanguaging and critical literacies work in bilingual classrooms. Translation and Translanguaging in Multilingual Contexts, 5(1), 67-85. doi: 10.1075/ttmc.00025.lau

Le, T., & Wang, X. (2009). Systematic functional linguistics and critical discourse analysis. In T. Le, M. Short, & Q. Le (Eds.), Critical discourse analysis: An interdisciplinary perspective (pp. 27-36). Nova Science Publishers.

Lee, Y. J. (2017). First steps toward critical literacy: Interactions with an English narrative text among three English as a foreign language readers in South Korea. Journal of Early Childhood Literacy, 17(1), 26-46. doi: 10.1177/1468798415599048

Lewison, M., Flint, A. S., & van Sluys, K. (2002). Taking on critical literacy: The journey of newcomers and novices. Language Arts, 79(5), 382–392.

Lewison, M., Leland, C., & Harste, J. C. (2008). Creating critical classrooms: K-8 reading and writing with an edge. Taylor and Francis Group. doi: 10.4324/9780203826317

Luke, A. (1995). Text and discourse in education: An introduction to critical discourse analysis. Review of Research in Education, 21, 3-48. doi: 10.2307/1167278

Luke, A. (2000). Critical literacy in Australia: A matter of context and standpoint. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 43(5), 448-461.

Luke, A. (2012). Critical literacy: Foundational notes. Theory Into Practice, 51(1), 4-11. doi: 10.1080/00405841.2012.636324

Luke, A., & Dooley, K. (2011). Critical literacy and second language learning. In E. Hinkel (Ed.), Handbook of research in second language teaching and learning (pp. 856-868). Routledge.

Luke, A., & Woods, A. (2009). Critical literacies in schools: A primer. Part of a special section: The Toll We Pay: Critical Literacy, 17(2), 9-18.

McLaughlin, M., & DeVoogd, G. (2004). Critical literacy: Enhancing students' comprehension of text. Scholastic.

Molin, L., Godhe, A.-L., & Lantz-Andersson, A. (2018). Instructional challenges of incorporating aspects of critical literacy work in digitalised classrooms. Cogent Education, 5(1), 1-17. doi: 10.1080/2331186X.2018.1516499

Paul, C. M. M. (2018). Critical literacy pedagogy: Establishing the factors of critical literacy instruction through a mixed methods approach. [Doctoral dissertation, North Carolina State University]. NC State University Libraries. http://www.lib.ncsu.edu/resolver/1840.20/35100

Rahimi, A., & Askari Bigdeli, R. (2015). Why does critical literacy hit a snag in the Iranian EFL setting? Colombian Applied Linguistics Journal, 17(1), 53-63. doi: 10.14483/udistrital.jour.calj.2015.1.a04

Rogers, R., Wetzel, M. M., & O'Daniels, K. (2016). Learning to teach, learning to act: Becoming a critical literacy teacher. Pedagogies, 11(4), 292-310. doi: 10.1080/1554480x.2016.1229620

Shor, I. (1999). What is critical literacy? Journal of Pedagogy, Pluralism, and Practice, 1(4), 2-32.

Simmons, A. M. (2016). Supporting critical literacy in high school English by using Systemic Functional Linguistics to analyze fantasy, canonical, and nonfiction texts. Critical Inquiry in Language Studies, 13(3), 183-209. doi: 10.1080/15427587.2016.1152475

Sultan, Rofiuddin, A., Nurhadi, & Priyatni, E. T. (2017). The effect of the critical literacy approach on pre-service language teachers' critical reading skills. Eurasian Journal of Educational Research(71), 159-174. doi: 10.14689/ejer.2017.71.9

Torres, M. N. (2017). Prospective teachers learning to engage reluctant writers: The power of experiential critical literacy pedagogies. Journal of Teacher Action Research, 4(1), 101-116.

van Manen, M., & Adams, C. A. (2010). Phenomenology. In P. Peterson, E. Baker, & B. McGaw (Eds.), International Encyclopedia of Education (Vol. 6, pp. 449-455). Elsevier.

Vasquez, V. M. (2017). Critical literacy. In Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Education. doi: 10.1093/acrefore/9780190264093.013.20

Vasquez, V. M., Janks, H., & Comber, B. (2019). Critical literacy as a way of being and doing. Language Arts, 96(5), 300-311.

Vasquez, V. M., Tate, S., & Harste, J. C. (2013). Negotiating critical literacies with teachers. Routledge. doi: 10.4324/9780203081778

Weil, D. K. (1998). Towards a critical multicultural literacy: Theory and practice for education for liberation. Peter Lang.

Wood, K. D., Soares, L., & Watson, P. (2006). Empowering adolescents through critical literacy. Middle School Journal, 37(3), 55-59. doi: 10.1080/00940771.2006.11461557

Yoon, B., & Sharif, R. (2015). History of critical literacy through the various theoretical frameworks. In B. Yoon & R. Sharif (Eds.), Critical literacy practice: Applications of critical theory in diverse settings (pp. 9-19). Springer.




How to Cite

Novianti, N., Thomas, A., & To, V. (2021). Localities in critical literacy practice: A critical review of the frameworks. Ricerche Di Pedagogia E Didattica. Journal of Theories and Research in Education, 16(1), 87–96. https://doi.org/10.6092/issn.1970-2221/11471