The Keepers of LiteracyMay 18, 2013 at 12:05 am | Posted in Content Area Literacy | 9 Comments
It is faulty reasoning to believe English Language Arts (ELA) teachers are the sole keepers of literacy. College and Career Ready literacy in the fields of science and math require an understanding of the conventions of each discipline. Who better to guide students through meeting the particular challenges of reading, writing, speaking, and listening in a particular content area, than those who already have expertise in those disciplines? Dr. William Heller explains it this way:
…we must then ask who is best prepared to teach these skills. Who should teach students how to write a story proof to solve a math problem? Who should teach students how to dissect primary source documents to learn about a historical period? Who should teach students how to use experimental data to construct an argument about a scientific principle? Confining literacy skills to the ELA classroom makes about as much sense as allowing students to use wooden pencils only in wood shop.
As you embark on becoming content area teachers entrusted with the shared responsibility of helping students develop lifelong literacy skills, consider both sides of the coin. Which aspect of teaching content area literacy most intrigues you? Which aspect most intimidates you? Why?