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Education as Change

versão On-line ISSN 1947-9417
versão impressa ISSN 1682-3206


SIBANDA, Rockie. A Taxi Ride to Critical Literacy: High School Students as Co-Researchers and Text Analysts. Educ. as change [online]. 2022, vol.26, n.1, pp.1-23. ISSN 1947-9417.

This article describes a critical literacy research project undertaken with English Additional Language students at a South African township school. Students were invited to take on the position of researchers in gathering and analysing bumper stickers found in commuter minibuses known as itekisi (taxi). These everyday texts in English and African languages are salient for the students' discourse communities. Bringing them into English lessons validates the use of languages and discourses that multilingual students inhabit and draws on their ability to move fluidly between languages. Framed by critical discourse analysis theory, this project aimed to facilitate students' abilities to develop and use critical literacy knowledge and skills in analysing taxi bumper stickers. The findings indicate that the students were able to demonstrate some criticality as they investigated multiple interpretations of the texts by community members and themselves. Inviting students to investigate texts drawn from their own communities was envisaged as enabling their development as critical readers with a social justice orientation to texts. However, their relentless negativity towards taxi drivers made it difficult for them to keep their focus on the texts, suggesting that teachers' selection of salient texts for lessons with a focus on critical literacy may not always achieve the intended outcomes.

Palavras-chave : bumper stickers; critical literacy awareness; critical discourse analysis; social justice; taxi drivers; students as researchers.

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