The current paper examines teaching practices in three first-grade primary classrooms (age range from five years and nine months old to six years and nine months old) in Greek Cypriot public schools, exploring whether the wider changes in critical literacy education declared on a policy level are influencing classroom literacy practices. Greek Cypriot public education has followed the language policies developed in Greece since the island gained independence in 1960. However, from 2010, there has been a full-scale educational reform in Cyprus at all levels of education, and for the first time, a critical literacy model has been implemented. Drawing data from research conducted into classroom practices and discourse, the current paper analyses literacy teaching in three Greek Cypriot classrooms, focusing on the materials used, the idea of textuality, the role of metalanguage and the notion of language legitimacy produced in the classroom. The overall aim is to document how the model of critical literacy is applied (or not) in these classrooms, and to explore the limitations and difficulties encountered, especially in the first grade of primary school where students need to move from emerging to developing literacy, i.e. they need to acquire the mechanisms of reading and writing. The methodology adopted follows the methods used in micro-ethnography, focusing in this case on participant observation of literacy classes and interviews with teachers in three classrooms.
- Critical literacy
- first-grade literacy
- Greek Cypriot education
- legitimizing classroom discourse
- teaching practices