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Volume 13 Number 4, Winter 2016, Pages 247-396 PDF Download

Critical Literacy in an EFL Classroom in Vietnam: Agentive Empowerment, Ideological and Language Transformations

    Thuy Bui

The study, conducted in a mountainous province in Vietnam, explored how teaching methods of critical literacy (CL) were effective with high school students and their perceptions about these approaches. The study employed engaged ethnography (e.g., Phyak & Bui, 2014; Davis & Phyak, 2015) in which the researcher worked collectively with 27 students in understanding current pedagogical issues and applying CL in a real classroom. In particular, students were provided an opportunity to learn English through CL which was embedded in two vignettes on listening and project-based learning. The findings indicated CL pedagogies significantly improved students' English language competency and multiple skills such as leadership, presentation, and collaboration. Moreover, the students' responses strongly indicated CL is a meaningful, applicable, and critical approach for their English language improvement, socio-cultural awareness, and agentive development. The study offered some recommendations for applying CL pedagogies in language teaching, paying special attention to students' agencies while providing them with ample CL methods, and opportunities to enrich their academic English competency for effective language learning and ideological and academic transformations.

Keywords: critical literacy, EFL, ethnography, English competency, agentive empowerment, skills, Vietnam