Magazine article Techniques

Literacy Key to Success

Magazine article Techniques

Literacy Key to Success

Article excerpt

AT THIS YEAR'S ACTE CONVENTION I WAS ASKED WHAT I BELIEVED TO BE A SIMPLE QUESTION, "What do you see as career and technical education's (CTE) role in the next five to 10 years?" At first, this seemed straightforward enough; but as I thought about the question it became clear it was not straightforward. We were discussing the role of CTE, No Child Left Behind, and academic integration--moving from one side of the discussion to the other, both for and against--and I could not help but remember my first teaching job.

I was placed in a classroom with both high school and adult students, each wanting me to guide them through a set of courses that would lead to a career path that they had chosen. Yet I was also being told by my administration that I had to integrate academics into all aspects of my teaching. I was told to teach them a skill set along with literacy and other academic subjects. My reaction: No way can I do all that in the time allotted. It's not my job to teach academics; they are supposed to know that before they get to me; and so on. In taking a hard look at what skill sets the students needed to be successful, it became very obvious that literacy was a major part. But the standard definition of literacy failed to cover many of the items on the list of skills needed.

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The Webster dictionary defines "literate" as the ability to read and write--and yes, students need to be able to read and write. They need to be able to read textbooks, technical manuals, specifications, letters and other forms of communications. …

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