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

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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.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTeacher Education for Diversity
Subtitle of host publicationConversations from the Global South
EditorsElizabeth Walton, Ruksana Osman
Place of PublicationMilton Park, Abingdon, Oxon
Number of pages16
Publication statusPublished - 19 Feb 2018


  • critical literacy
  • hegemony
  • gender and education
  • gender and sexuality
  • material design
  • heteronormativity
  • Queer critical literacies

    Govender, N. & Andrews, G., 8 Sep 2021, The Handbook of Critical Literacies. Pandya, J. Z., Mora, R. A., Alford, J. H., Golden, N. A. & de Roock, R. S. (eds.). New York, p. 82-93 12 p.

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

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