Critical Literacy and 21st Century Jewish Day Schools

Spring, 2014

Source: Jewish Educational Leadership. Spring 2014 (12:2) pages 23-25


With increasing text accessibility and information overload, the 21st century requires educators to radically shift the way they define and understand what texts are and how they and their students use and relate to those texts. We assert that critical thinking with critical literacy prepares students as 21st century glocal citizens by providing an avenue to examine the constant incoming information. Incorporating the lens of critical literacy in education is a transformative process that occurs over time. In this paper, we first define glocalization, then we define critical literacy and examine why it is important now. Finally, we present examples of how teachers can include critical literacy skills in the Jewish day school classroom.



Jewish day schools seek to prepare their students to become the next generation of Jewish and global citizens. To do this, Jewish day school students must have a more unified sense of self. The tenets of critical literacy force students to examine their and their communities’ continuing development. Students will engage in more meaningful learning opportunities, construct meanings for themselves, and see themselves in a glocal discourse. In turn, students’ abilities to critique the information they encounter and to determine if it aligns harmoniously with their own value system will improve. Students steeped in a dialogue of critical literacy are aware of incongruences among Jewish, local, national, and global value systems and have more opportunities to consider ways to manage these incongruences that do not require a divided identity. Armed with critical literacy, Jewish day school students are more prepared to engage in the 21st century world.


Read the entire article in Jewish Educational Leadership.

Updated: Jul. 22, 2014