Robust Respect

De-centering Deficit Thinking in Family Literacy Work


  • Stacey Crooks University of Regina



This paper is rooted in an assumption that the tenacity of deficit thinking in family literacy programs in Canada is partly a reflection of our colonial settler history. I explore how embracing an ethic of “robust respect” may offer a way of re-orienting family literacy programs away from deficit thinking and towards relationships. Drawing on observation of the Traditional Aboriginal Parenting Program, I describe how “robust respect” is characterized by building respectful relationships, valuing the other, and acknowledging the historical and political context in which family literacy work is located.

Author Biography

Stacey Crooks, University of Regina

Dr. Stacey Crooks is a sessional instructor in the Faculty of Education, University of Regina, Canada. She completed a PhD at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto. Her background includes work in community-based and institutional adult literacy, English as and additional language and family literacy programs. Her work focuses on deficit thinking in community based family literacy programs; anti-oppressive and anti-racist approaches to literacy education; colonial logics; and feminist and poststructural research methodologies.




How to Cite

Crooks, S. (2019). Robust Respect: De-centering Deficit Thinking in Family Literacy Work. Language and Literacy, 21(3), 64–78.