Critical Literacy in English and History - Stages 3 and 4


The focus of this three day course is to develop understanding and strategies for participants teaching English and History in Stages 3 and 4.

We will focus on viewing texts from a critical literacy perspective in order to select a range of texts representing a variety of perspectives. Texts will be considered in terms of contestability and empathetic understanding as well as how they develop and challenge understandings about contemporary issues and the past. To support students in engaging in critical response to texts, teachers will analyse and identify language features that can be deconstructed to support critical analysis and, in particular, questioning of perspectives based on context, author background, date and place of publication. They will describe and assess motives of individuals and groups within historical contexts and literature. Participants will have developed the ability to interpret, explain and identify perspectives in a range of texts in both English and History to support understanding of subject matter and literacy. Intercultural understanding will be supported through comparison of texts especially with texts written from an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspective.

This three day course will include the preparation of two tasks directly related to each participant’s work in their own classrooms and the discussion of readings to support the development of understandings in both History and English.

Teachers in the middle years, Stages 3 & 4, are supporting students in their transition from the primary to secondary years. This transition often requires students to interrogate more challenging texts and respond to, and compose, more sophisticated texts of their own. This course aims to support teachers to develop their own critical analysis and curation of texts for use in the classroom and to develop a range of appropriate teaching and learning strategies to support the development of critical literacy for their students.

Cost: $600 for 3 days

Professional learning objectives for teachers

  • Understand a critical literacy approach to teaching
  • Research and curate a range of texts that define perspectives, eg Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives (ATSI), Asian perspectives and/or promote intercultural understanding
  • Critically analyse perspectives and make connections to develop empathetic understanding
  • Identify and compare features from a range of texts through critical analysis
  • Organise a sequence of teaching and learning strategies to support critical responses to texts
  • Make connections between reading and writing through critical analysis of texts

The theoretical perspectives explored in this course will relate to issues of race, gender and ethnicity and how these impact on language choices. Participants will be asked to undertake readings to support their choice of strategies and to underpin their pedagogical approach to the use of a range of texts.

Overview Day 1

Curating texts – analysis and comparison of perspectives
Model for selecting texts
Strategies for using critical literacy in modelled reading

Define critical literacy and its history
Identify links to critical literacy in English and/or History Syllabuses

Provide a list of guiding questions for selecting and curating texts
Provide a range of texts for groups to read and practise analysing with use of the guiding questions
Groups identify additional texts which might also be used
Outline tasks and readings for completion between Day 1 and Day 2: a) locate a selection of texts for use in the classroom and complete table with guiding questions, b) design a modelled reading lesson based on selected texts and bring copies of the texts used
The readings and the tasks must be completed in between Days 1 and 2 to enable participation in Day 2. 

Overview Day 2

Text comparison
Discussion of readings

Preparing responses to texts, oral, written and multimodal
Sharing modelled reading lesson in small groups

Outline task and readings for completion between Day 2 and Day 3: Prepare a response to a text (planning for a writing strategy and a joint construction)
Bring laptop for Day 3.

The readings and the tasks must be completed in between Days 2 and 3 to enable participation in Day 3. 

Overview Day 3

Discussion of readings
Model planning lesson based on selection of texts

Group planning and reflection on lesson plan/s

Share responses to text lessons

As part of final assignment for completion of the course, groups complete lessons and email to the presenters before the end of Day 3.

Target Participants

Primary and secondary teachers of Stages 3 and 4 English and/or History


There will be a range of delivery modes including exposition, multi-media presentations, and plenary dialogues.

The NSW Teachers Federation Conference Centre is a registered COVID safe business, and all courses are run in compliance with the Federation’s COVID safety plan.

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