Academic journal article Reading Horizons (Online)

Addressing the 'Shift': Preparing Preservice Secondary Teachers for the Common Core

Academic journal article Reading Horizons (Online)

Addressing the 'Shift': Preparing Preservice Secondary Teachers for the Common Core

Article excerpt

Introduction

The Common Core State Standards for English/Language Arts and Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subjects [CCSS] (National Governors Association Center for Best Practices & Council of Chief State School Officers, 2010) represents a significant shift in the expectations for both the teaching and learning of literacy related to specific subject areas. Traditionally content literacy instruction has emphasized infusing generic reading comprehension, vocabulary, and writing strategies into content classes as tools to facilitate information acquisition (Fang & Coatoam, 2013; Heller & Greenleaf, 2007; Moore, Readence, & Rickelman, 1983; O'Brien, Stewart, & Moje, 1995). The new paradigm posed by the Common Core shift expands the traditional approach to also include reading and writing instruction embedded within and part of a specific discipline (Draper & Siebert, 2010; Fang & Coatoam, 2013; Heller & Greenleaf, 2007; Shanahan & Shanahan, 2012). This shift is designed to address adolescents' persistent struggles with the unique texts encountered in content-area courses and aligns with views that unique reading and writing skills are necessary for students to investigate, understand, and debate the meaning of content studied in various subject area classes (Draper, Broomhead, Jensen, Nokes, & Siebert, 2010; Moje, 2008a; Shanahan & Shanahan, 2008).

Researchers have discovered what disciplinary experts and novices do when reading a text (see Shanahan & Shanahan, 2008; Wineburg, 1991). For example, Wineburg (1991) found that historians' source, contextualize, and corroborate sources. Shanahan and Shanahan (2008) noted chemists focused on the different representations of the text when reading and mathematicians paid close attention to function words (e.g., a, and, the).

Not all researchers support the use of disciplinary literacy in the secondary classroom. Heller (2010/2011) posited many secondary content-area teachers do not have a disciplinary background, so disciplinary literacy instruction should be left to college professors. Ehren, Murza, and Malani (2012) and Faggella- Luby, Graner, Deshler, and Drew (2012) argued struggling readers and writers might not benefit from disciplinary literacy instruction due to a lack of foundational reading skills. We share the view of other literary scholars that a divisive literacy-content dichotomy is not productive for understanding the practices that will help teachers and students succeed (Brozo, Moorman, Meyer, & Stewart, 2013; Draper & Siebert, 2010; Massey & Riley, 2013).

The CCSS includes standards that address general literacy competencies across disciplines as well as distinct discipline-specific literacy standards nuanced for particular discipline areas. As school districts enter the early phases of CCSS implementation, current pre-service secondary teachers will be expected to possess the competence to help students meet all of the literacy expectations outlined in the standards. Due to this shift, secondary teacher preparation programs have been called on to transform traditional models of content literacy courses to adequately prepare future teachers to meet the additional demands of disciplinary literacy instruction (Conley, 2008; Fang, 2014; Moje, 2008a; Shanahan & Shanahan, 2008). However, there are few examples of content literacy courses that have made this shift toward including disciplinary literacy perspectives (Conley, 2012; Draper, et al., 2010; Moje, 2008b). To address this gap, we sought to examine how infusing an inquiry-based Disciplinary Literacy Project (DLP) into a content literacy course impacted pre-service secondary teachers' beliefs about disciplinary literacies and how their beliefs influenced their classroom instruction.

Theoretical Framework

Our study was framed by the convergence of a sociocultural theory of human development (Lave & Wenger, 1991; Wenger, 1998) and a Discourse theory of identity development (Gee, 1996). …

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