“Power Without Honor Is Indeed A Dangerous Thing”: The Social Construction of Critical Literacy in Elementary Teacher Education

Patricia Calderwood, Morgan Mazza, Hillary Ahearn, Abiah Ruel, Amy Favano, Kathleen Mahieu, Dan McNeill, Catherine Nguyen Ho Dias, Linda Pryde, Carolyn Stenerson


An electronic conversation spontaneously constructed by elementary teacher candidates accomplished the critical reading of text, the connection of these readings to their work as teachers, and the framing of that teaching in terms of socially conscious inquiry and action. The structure of the conversation facilitated the exploration and establishment of the candidate’s identity as critical literacy educators; the implicit rules of engagement facilitated mutual trust, respect and appreciation. This created a safe space in which to engage in a discussion that rendered the teacher candidates vulnerable to self-doubts about critical literacy pedagogy, even as it showcased their intellectual strengths as critical readers. Implications for teacher education are included.


Critical literacy; Social construction; Elementary teacher education

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.20360/G2159X