Critical literacy and children's "out-of-school" spaces

Hearn, Karen
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The aim of the research was to deepen my understanding of the conceptualizations of childhood, as well as exploring the notion of the bedroom as a belonging space within the context of privilege or poverty. Spatial theory, theories of multimodality and critical literacy provide a theoretical framework for this research. The research was conducted with twenty two pre-school children in an affluent, private school. Data was collected through group discussions, informal discussions and focus group discussions which were recorded and transcribed. Children‟s art as well as photographs were also collected. Findings reveal that children‟s conceptualization of the bedroom as a belonging space is tied to constructions of identity. Identity is formed by relational ties, materiality of objects, gender and to some extent, the commodification of the bedroom space. In addition, a privilege upbringing shapes the children‟s understanding of social oppression, but this does not necessarily become an embodied understanding. In order to foster critical thinking, it is important to adopt a critical literacy approach which is integrated into the curriculum on an on-going basis.
A research report submitted to the Faculty of Humanities, University of the Witwatersrand, in fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Education, Johannesburg, 2018