Where conventional approaches to close reading draw on traditions of literary critique that focus on analysing the aesthetic use of language by foregrounding how effective authors are and how English education involves appreciating skilful language use, a critical literacy approach requires us to move beyond the text by considering the social function and impact of language use. To illustrate this, I analyse Greta Thunberg’s speech from COP24 (Poland) in 2018 using Hilary Janks’ (2005) tool for critical linguistic analysis in a way that that can be pitched for secondary English classrooms. On one hand, this analysis should highlight how language and literacy are implicated in issues of power, access, diversity, and (re)design (Janks, 2010). On the other hand, it makes a case for critical literacy as a necessary approach to teaching and learning (English) language and literacy. English teachers, student teachers and other literacy stakeholders may find this video useful for thinking about how a theoretical approach can shape classroom practice in more socially just ways.
If possible, you may want to watch the following video (and download the transcript) on YouTube in preparation:
Cop24 conference 2018 (Poland) – Greta Thunberg – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VFkQSGyeCWg
Watch the full webinar with Q&A here: