Cultural, critical and operational dimensions, analysing how engagement with text was key in three instances in your life
Guidance for Essay
Title: Reflecting on My Reading Experiences: Cultural, Critical and Operational Dimensions
The essay should be written in first person and should consist of a discussion of three instances in your life where engagement with a text was key (focus on reading). We have provided a downloadable essay planner on Moodle to support you to structure your essay effectively and help you to ensure that you meet the assessment criteria. Guidance about the structure of the essay can also be found below:
Part of Essay Content
Briefly introduce the purpose and aims of the essay. Explain why literacy can be perceived as a ‘social practice’ drawing on theory and your own experiences of reading. You should include a definition of literacies drawing on your reading of the course. Use this theory to support an academic discussion of your river of reading.
What surprised you about your river of reading (and how it was similar different to those of your peers)? What does the river of reading demonstrate about literacy as a social practice?
Top Tip: Refer to the statements from seminar 1 and seminar 2. These explain that viewing literacy as a social practice means we understand that:
Literacy is not just a set of skills
The social context affects how you read and understand a text
Cultural backgrounds and experiences are integral to the meaning making process
Literacies are diverse and linked to peoples identities
Texts can mean different things to different people
Literacy practices shape the world around us
Literacy practices are not neutral and are rooted in the power relations in society
You will not have space to cover all of these points but you can use these to guide your analysis. Make your point, discuss an illustrative example from your River of Reading (or make comparisons with those of your peers) and link to theory from one of the key readings.
In this section you are demonstrating your understanding of literacy as a social practice.
Cultural Dimensions of Reading In each of these three sections reference theory to help you to define and explain the dimension of reading you are focusing on. In each section refer directly to your appendix and briefly explain the reasons for depicting the reading experience as you did.
1) Introduce the dimension of literacy you are discussing and define it clearly (drawing on Green’s theory).
2) Introduce the reading experience you have chosen to exemplify the dimension of literacy you are discussing (drawing on relevant theory). Explain relevant detail such as when the event took place, where you were, who you were with, what you were reading, why you were reading.
3) Why did you select this reading experience to represent your engagement with ‘cultural/operational/critical dimension of reading? This needs to link directly to the definition of the dimension (The operational dimension is about skills, the cultural dimension is about meaning making and the critical dimension is about power relations/representation)
4) Make link to your collage pages in your appendix. Why did you include the images/words/artefacts in the appendix. Pull out details in the collage, discussing their relevance to the point you wish to make.
5) Use the theory from the key readings (or other relevant readings) to help you discuss why this is an interesting and significant example in relation to the dimension you are discussing. (THIS IS YOUR MAIN POINT)
Operational Dimensions of Reading
Critical Dimensions of Reading
This is the section where you link your academic discussion of the three dimensions of reading to your future practice as a primary school teacher.
Reflect on what you have you learnt about literacy during the module so far and consider the significance of this to your role as an educator of children.
Engage with theory in this section to highlight how and why reflecting on your own reading practices in this way useful when considering your professional role as a teacher. In this section you need to meet the criteria related to the ethical implications of viewing literacy as a social practice.