Conference paper

Concordance between Intercultural and Critical education within the realms of literacy education : paper presented at ""intercultural vs Critical Education"" - Contrast or concordance? 14-17 april 2011 på Södertörns högskola


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Subtitle: paper presented at "intercultural vs Critical Education" - Contrast or concordance? 14-17 april 2011 på Södertörns högskola

Author list: Damber, Ulla

Publication year: 2011


This presentation will focus the importance of teachers’ work with early readers. Swedish students’ reading comprehension competencies are being debated as the PISA results have indicated a decline in recent years. I will debate how this focus on results may counteract the aim to improve Swedish students’ literacy levels; in particular, when paying respect to the fact that Swedish classrooms today are multicultural and multilingual. Three different studies underpin the argumentation; one of bilingual students’ successful literacy achievement in the primary years, one of the value systems indicated in Swedish basals commonly used in early literacy teaching, and one of the relative lack of teacher initiated conversations after reading aloud in pre-school. I draw the conclusion that the nurturing of critical perspectives in the early years need to be emphasized to a much greater extent. Language-wise we know how important talking about texts is for semantic growth, but also growth regarding political literacy earns attention, as the ethnically Swedish middle-class family and traditional gender roles permeate the content in the analyzed text-books. The preschool-teachers in the third study indicated that both lack of knowledge of the importance of ´talking text´ and lack of time made those occasions very scarce. I argue that the creation of a learning climate encouraging negotiations of meaning at all educations is crucial. Time required for text-related oral activities and further implementation of critical perspectives in the early literacy activities should not be questioned, if mainstream is to include diversity and all children are to have similar opportunities to develop both literacy and their realms of reference within their Zone of Proximal Development. To conclude, the tentative effects of the increasing focus on results will be discussed in relation to these studies.


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