Competing priorities: Singapore teachers’ perspectives on critical literacy

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This paper explores a group of Singaporean English language teachers’ knowledge and beliefs about critical literacy as well as their perspectives on how best to teach literacy and critical literacy in Singapore schools. A face-to-face survey was conducted among 58 English language teachers by using open-ended questions. The survey covered various topics related to literacy instruction including text decoding, meaning construction, and critical analysis of texts. The participating teachers believed strongly that reading and writing are transactional and interactional practices. However, they were less certain in their beliefs about teaching critical literacy including the critical, analytical and evaluative aspects of text reading. Some teachers saw a conflict between using time on teaching critical literacy and preparing students to pass their exams. As critical literacy is not a requirement at exams, they found it difficult to justify using time teaching it. The results suggest that the teachers’ belief systems are strongly influenced by the broad macro-structure of the educational system in Singapore and their own educational experiences.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)184-194
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Educational Research
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2010


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