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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Students Taking Social Action: Critical Literacy Practices Through School-As-Museum Learning

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Inspired by critical literacy practices, sixth-grade students at Carter Elementary designed, curated, and publicly displayed a museum exhibit to expose and confront issues of social justice. Through this case study of one display within the exhibit, we analyze the ideas and stances represented in each of its artifacts and investigate how, together, the data sources create a discursive chain in regard to social action. We call on critically oriented discourse analysis (Gee, 2005; Rogers & Mosley Wetzel, 2013) to interpret the densely multimodal artifacts, considering how ideas and stances are embodied and intertextual. Our findings reveal how student-created museum learning can stimulate transformative stances toward social action and serve as powerful mediums for youth activism. The study contributes important insights to the field of literacy studies, particularly how social action can be integrated into teaching and learning processes through multimodal public exhibits.


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