Reading the Word and the World: A Critical Literary and Autoethnographic Analysis of Educational Renovation in Vietnam

Hien Dang Ta , University of Arizona, Jun 16, 2017
Commentary by Stephen Downes
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This is a lovely PhD thesis (197 page PDF) that explores aspects of Vietnamese education from the perspective of critical pedagogy and critical literacy.   Critical literacy is "about much more than learning to read the 'word'; a learner must learn to understand the political and social practices that constitute their reality before she/ he can make sense of the written words that describe that reality." Conversely (from Olsen and Friere), "what is making them (famous people and intellectuals) cultural illiterates . . . is their prejudice against race, against class, against the nation.” The author focuses on the process of 'educational renovation' where we see that "students reject a class-based conception in favor of a more humanistic conception of the human being" based on "their experiences or interactions with books published outside the classrooms." But the emancipatory perspective of critical pedagogy was not integrated into he educational process. There's a contrast between "the seeming conformity, obedience, and resignation that many present in formal settings, and the torrents of 'critical literacy' when they express themselves at the cafeteria." Image: Vietnamnet.

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