Teaching Critical Literacy Using Cultural and Political Vignettes

Jacqueline Darvin


One way to engage students with critical, content-area literacy in secondary classrooms is by asking them to respond to what the author terms Cultural and Political Vignettes or CPVs. CPVs are cultural and/or political problems that are presented to respondents so that they can practice critical thinking and decision-making skills that they will need in both their classrooms and larger communities of practice. CPVs deal with cultural and political issues, but also with content-specific knowledge and critical problem solving. They are designed to ask respondents to reflect upon and question the values, biases, stereotypes, relationships, decision making processes, funds of knowledge and actions of both themselves and others. This article explores the use of CPVs as a pedagogical strategy to promote critical literacy in secondary classrooms. It provides examples from several content areas and discusses how and why CPVs help to engage students in critical literacy, particularly when the CPVs are in the form of situated performances.


Critical Literacy; Critical Pedagogy; Cultural and Political Vignettes; Secondary Education; Teaching; Pedagogy; Instructional Practices

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ISSN 1920-4175 Critical Education