Critical Language Awareness
The Critical Language Awareness Series was published in 1993 by Hodder and Stoughton and Wits University Press. I edited all six workbooks, and wrote two. These workbooks, used in classrooms in South Africa, formed the basis of my national and international reputation (65 academic citations for the series as a whole and 25 and 34 for each of the workbooks I authored).
These were path-breaking in a number of ways:
- First, they translated complicated social theory into activities that were accessible to secondary school students.
- Second, they were written in language that was accessible to students who were not native speakers of English and so could work across the divides in SA education.
- Third, the series included visual literacy – then a nascent field.
- Fourth, the books in the series refused the conventional use of ‘neutral’ exemplars in language teaching.
- Finally, although written for South African classrooms, these workbooks were taken up internationally.
Students need skills to read texts critically in order to understand the interests at work. During apartheid this was vital in order for students to contribute to the creation of a just social order, and the series gave teachers the necessary tools. Although now out of print these workbooks are available in Wits University‘s online repository and at the page that relates to my books.
Literacy and Power
In literacy and power I explain the four orientations that contribute to my interdepedent model of critical literacy: power, diversity (identity and difference), access and design/redesign. The books makes the argument that any one without the other creates a problematic imbalance. For example an analysis of power that does not consider possibilities for change and transformation, simply maintains the status quo. Diverse perspectives and access for people marginalised by language, race, gender, class are central to the critical literacy project of equity and social justice. The orientations and their inter-connections are explained both theoretically and with lived examples of practice and everyday texts. See more here.
Doing Critical Literacy
The workbooks prefigure Doing Critical Literacy (Janks et al, 2014), which provides teachers with examples of critical literacy practice. The practice is underpinned by my own integrated theoretical model of critical literacy, developed in my monograph Literacy and Power (Janks, 2010).
The model shows how questions of power, access, diversity, design and transformation or redesign need to be integrated if literacy is to contribute to the creation of a more equitable society. It is based on the decade of research after my doctorate. See more here.
Journal editorial boards
- Language and Education (1998) – published by Carfax
- Educational Linguistics – book series published by Kluwer Academic Publishers
- English Teaching: Practice and Critique (2002, founder member)
- Language and Education – Taylor and Francis
- International Multilingual Research Journal – Taylor and Francis (2009)
- Australian Association Research in Education (2011)
- English Studies in Africa (2001) – editorial consultant