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Deconstructing heteronormativity and hegemonic gender orders through critical literacy and materials design : a case in a South African school of education

Govender, Navan N. (2018) Deconstructing heteronormativity and hegemonic gender orders through critical literacy and materials design : a case in a South African school of education. In: Teacher Education for Diversity. Routledge, Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon, pp. 36-52. ISBN 9781138630406

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In this chapter, I conduct a critical reflection of the processes of production in which I operated during the design of a workbook for an undergraduate critical literacy course aimed at using language to engage with controversial topics related to issues of diversity in sex, gender and sexuality. I begin with a brief summary of the four main sections in the final workbook: 'Language', 'Policing and Subversion', '(Re)Design', and 'Social Impact'. I then outline and discuss the three main processes that I view are pertinent to any materials design aimed at addressing controversial issues of diversity: 1. 'Identifying 'Real' Themes', 2. 'Identifying Theoretical Concepts', and 3. 'Applying a Critical Pedagogical Structure'. These interconnected processes of production illustrate the complex negotiations between texts, theory and socio-cultural context that are needed for the effective design of educational materials: From finding exciting and subversive resources online or in the media to the re-conceptualisation of the workbook while journeying through the literature on sex, gender, sexuality and critical literacy pedagogy. Using my own workbook as a case, I argue that in order to deal with diversity in the classroom, critical self-reflection must be viewed as a practice which enables one to understand how pedagogical choices might have a real social impact on learners, education and socio-cultural context. In this way, I aim to consider how my own design choices affect what it means to engage with controversial topics in the classroom.