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Question Reflection

Always question what you know, hear, see and are told

Reflect critically about the lexis of texts - how they may be socially, politically and historically formed.

Reflexivity How does the reflection impact upon your beliefs, assumptions, values, etc., and what you do, how you interpret things …

Comparison Comparing texts on the same topic - similarities, differences, inclusions omissions and their implications.


How the text is formed grammatically i.e., active or passive voice, adjectives, tense and aspect, who the audience is, what does the language presuppose and what beliefs does the writer hold?

(Table amended from University of Strathclyde website)

This framework has helped me and my students in our discussions and the study of texts. Prior to the PGCE, I had already begun to impress upon my students the importance of being critical and sceptical, and not accepting received 'wisdom' at face value but to try to discover its source, and if necessary challenging what may have been regarded as common sense. CDA provided me with a framework to do this.

A recent example of my use of CDA concerned examining articles on food banks. I asked learners to look at two articles from the Mail and the Guardian and to reflect critically upon their social and political context; how this may or may not impact upon their own beliefs on the topic; the content and language of the two articles – the inclusions, omissions, and their implications; and lastly to think about the audience the articles were aimed at, and the beliefs of the writer. This was an extremely successful lesson because students realised that language/discourse is never neutral, and so they must question everything they see, hear or read. Thus for example the Guardian will write from a left-of-centre viewpoint and the Mail from right-of- centre.

The Masters After completing the PGCE, I decided to do the Masters. This was another step up academically which opened my eyes further to the impact of philosophy on educational policy, and in particular to the history of the Lifelong Learning discourse and its current skills-based agenda.

Understanding Lifelong Learning Policy Since the 1980s lifelong learning policies have seen important changes in many nations around the world. It has increasingly been conceived of in terms of an economic imperative, both in terms of policy and practice. The OECD (1997) and EU (Van der Pas, 2001) have been instrumental in achieving a change in the discourse of lifelong learning under the guise of the 'learning economy'. This contrasts with pre-1980's policies which viewed lifelong learning as being “a personal good and as an inherent aspect of democratic life” (Biesta 2006:169).

Before the Masters, not knowing the history of lifelong learning or its purpose and philosophical underpinnings, I had bought into the idea of its skills-based learning economy agenda. However, having worked in both the private and public sectors teaching Literacy, Numeracy and ESOL, I know that successive


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