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Critical Literacy

Last updated by Mary-Anne Murphy

The New Zealand Curriculum states:

"Thinking is about using creative, critical, and metacognitive  processes  to make sense of information, experiences and ideas. These processes can be applied to purposes such as developing  understanding, making decisions, shaping actions, or constructing  knowledge. Intellectual curiosity is at the heart of this competency" (p.12).
"Students who are competent thinkers and problem solvers actively seek, use, and create knowledge. They reflect on their own learning, draw on personal knowledge and intuitions, ask questions, and challenge the basis of assumptions and perceptions" (p.12)

"By understanding how language works, students are equipped to make appropriate  language choices and apply them in a range of contexts. Students learn to deconstruct and critically interrogate  texts in order to understand the power of language to enrich and shape their own and others’ lives" (p. 18). 

Luke and Freebody's Four Literacies Model (1990) outlines four different components of literacy of which Critical Literacy is an important part.

Luke and Freebody Four Literacies Model

Key understandings around Critical Literacy include:

•  Texts are constructed and can therefore be constructed in different ways
•  All texts contain belief and value messages
•  Each person interprets messages differently
•  Texts serve different interests
•  Each medium develops its own language in order to position readers/viewers in certain ways. 


Critical Digital Literacy is a component of Critical Literacy. There are 5 parts to this model:

Critical Digital Literacy 5 resources model

Click here to view a VLN conversation on Critical Literacy Development