“It’s TikTok with no c!”: the Need for Critical Literacy Curricula in the Elementary Classroom

In: The International Journal of Critical Media Literacy
Yoonjin NamPh.D. Candidate, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Champaign, USA

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Students walk into the classroom with numerous hours of exposure to social media. Through different social media platforms, they engage in digital literacy and experience entertainment but also, questions, frustrations and different negotiations of their identities. This qualitative, ethnographic case study was done in an elementary classroom in the Midwest. Participants revealed their keen awareness to the viral debates that happened on TikTok (a mobile video- sharing app) regarding race and the frustrations they experienced through it personally. These findings suggest the urgent need for critical literacy curricula (specifically critical Hip Hop pedagogy) to be implemented within schools for dialogue to even begin which could eventually become an avenue for students to express their agency.

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