Category Archives: Learner background

Learning the Art of Critical Pivoting

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Guest Contributor: Christine Smart-Wiseman

Like many others in the field, I am always looking for new ways to improve my teaching. My research as a PhD student at York University led me to examine teaching from a critical pedagogical approach. The guiding principle of this approach is to construct equitable and democratic classrooms with a goal to positively transform students’ lives (Canagarajah, 2005).

While I was doing my research in an ELL classroom, I uncovered many ways in which ELL environments contradict the goals of critical pedagogical approaches. In many cases, planning and preparing ahead to foster a classroom environment that supports critical learning can overcome these challenges, but at times, there may be a dynamic need to shift classroom spaces towards empowering teaching and learning. I have developed a strategy I call critical pivoting to address this problem and would like to share it with you.

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Quick Tips for Teaching Literacy

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Guest Contributor: Zainab Almutawali

These tips and guidelines are meant for instructors and volunteers who are new to the field of literacy and intend to work with adult literacy learners. What makes this document different is that it is not based on research papers and teaching theories. Rather, it is based on my experience teaching literacy students from diverse backgrounds and various levels of literacy. It is also based on other teachers’ experiences and my learners’ feedback, which I always consider when planning my lessons. Despite the challenges, I find that teaching literacy is very rewarding and fulfilling.

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