Reading response theory and critical pedagogy: measuring values in Manitoba's senior ELA curriculum
Pauls, Steven M
This thesis is a close-reading of Manitoba’s senior years ELA framework. It attempts to scrutinize the overall wording, phraseology and intent of the curricular document and determine whether or not it fosters democratic teaching and classrooms. The main democratizing theories, critical pedagogy and Reader Response criticism are teased out to show not only how they coexist but also how they may form oppositions. That is, while these theories can co-exist, they can present contradictions in emphasis, scope and focus. Although populist by many standards, Reader Response theory may not be concrete enough to be housed alongside critical literacy values. This may be connected to a kind of misguided interpretation of critical pedagogy as ‘philanthropy’. Does the framework deal with this problem adequately? Its ability to help teachers deal with this contradiction may indicate not only the overall success of the curricular framework as a democratizing instrument, but may serve as a reminder as to how democratic education remains a paradoxical ideal. It also may suggest that professionalization of teachers in this area is more difficult than previously imagined.