Imagination in critical literacy research is usually referred to as a taken for granted concept that is seldom theorised, leaving the assumptions unchecked that everyone has a shared understanding of imagination. This paper aims to challenge critical literacy researchers to rethink the relationship between criticality and imagination and its implication for a critical writing pedagogy. It aims to synthesise the imagination and criticality in the context of critical literacy, both theoretically and empirically and in doing so to illustrate what form a critical writing pedagogy that foregrounds the critical imagination might take.
This argument is illustrated through analysing two sets of data that contain embodied enactments of contested gender issues across different modes and genres. Data from student teachers’ embodied enactments of contested gender issues and from their writing on these issues were analysed thematically.
A crucial aspect of the critical imagination entails creating pedagogical spaces that mobilise affect and empathy alongside criticality. Embodied literacy work across different modes and genres can play a significant role in facilitating the critical imagination by enabling students to enact, perform and immerse themselves in different discourses, ultimately generating new insights and ways of seeing.
Data was drawn from a relatively small sample of 30 assignments in the context of teacher education in South Africa. More empirical research needs to be conducted across a wider range of contexts.
The paper provides a theoretical framework and practical ideas for implementing a critical writing pedagogy that foregrounds the critical imagination and thus could be used in both teacher education contexts and school literacy classrooms.
This paper challenges critical literacy researchers to rethink the relationship between criticality and imagination and its implication for a critical writing pedagogy.
The author would like to thank the following colleagues for their valuable feedback on various drafts of this paper: Yvonne Reed, Pinky Makoe, Hilary Janks, Kerryn Dixon, Ana Ferreira and Navan Govender. The author would also like to thank the three reviewers for their valuable feedback.
Mendelowitz, B. (2017), "Conceptualising and enacting the critical imagination through a critical writing pedagogy", English Teaching: Practice & Critique, Vol. 16 No. 2, pp. 178-193. https://doi.org/10.1108/ETPC-08-2016-0102Download as .RIS
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