Xin's Week 3 Responses

It is a common believe that when students enter high school they are expected to have learned the basic skills and strategies for reading and comprehending text. During my first year tenure at my high school, I find that students who are still working to develop proficiencies in reading, writing, and comprehending text need assistance from myself and other “specialists” at the school. Even those who received proficiency in reading and writing still struggle at times to comprehend the complex texts (especially content related) at the high school level. In Gina Biancarosa’s article she stated that, “no matter how successful early instruction in reading is, it cannot fully prepare students for the literacy demands that evolve after 3rd grade.” This statement not only shocked me but at the same thing opened my mind to see the huge leap in reading complexity between 3rd grade, middle school, and high school. Figure 1 (Biancarosa, 25) made me realize that many of my students are still transitioning from elementary school to middle school. Biancarosa uses an excellent example of how the students are moving up through the grades but the texts they are reading in different content-area classes are becoming more and more distinct from one another. While I teach Biology in English, there are many instances I feel like I was teaching them how to read a different language. I have started to introduce at least one lesson day designated to reading related articles and require the students to circle unfamiliar words. Afterwards, for homework, they are to look up the word. The students then use the word in a sentence and a picture relating to the word.

The public school system in NYC adapted the Common Core State Standards which incorporated the disciplinary literacy into each content area. The purpose of disciplinary literacy is to prepare students for success in college and the workforce. “Disciplinary literacy represents a different approach from that of traditional content area literacy, which offers cognifitive strategies for any subject area, such as questioning, visuzlizing, and summarizing.” (Hillman, 397) The development of the CCSS was mainly due to the concern of the United States falling behind, with more than 70% of the students in 4-12 grade, in reading and writing proficiency. Many different approaches were developed and tried to combat the issues. Pedagogical techniques like cognitive, sociocultural, linguistic, and critical were introduced but were mainly introduced individually and not collectively. In Fang’s article, he suggests that each of the four approaches can be made to complement one another in ways that allow teachers to tailor instruction to student needs, curricular goals, and the specific task at hand. (Fang, 107) We can design the best curriculum and teaching strategy for all types of learners, but one of the major underlying problem that the articles fail to address more is cultural and family values of the student population. I believe that for learning to be in full effect, there needs to be a partnership between school communities and parents.

The guiding question, “What does it mean to think like an historian, scientist, mathematician, and a literary critic?” I think that students, especially in high school, are required to be proficient in all content areas. We are requiring them to perform proficiently in everything but failing to provide them with the necessary means to be successful. Student’s learning style is evolving but the style of teaching has not caught up to the pace at which student’s learning style is evolving. We need to do better.

    • Tamdeka Hughes-Carroll
      Tamdeka Hughes-Carroll

      Hi Xin,

      Yes cultural and family values is surely missed. That plays a heavy role in the education of children. Also, preparing students for college and the workforce should be the primary focus, and if so all areas need to be addressed and considered in order for students to be successful. 

      • Gerald Ardito
        Gerald Ardito

        Xin,

        You did a really nice job with this response.

        I was very intrigued by this:

        While I teach Biology in English, there are many instances I feel like I was teaching them how to read a different language. I have started to introduce at least one lesson day designated to reading related articles and require the students to circle unfamiliar words. Afterwards, for homework, they are to look up the word. The students then use the word in a sentence and a picture relating to the word.

        Have you developed any routines or practices in your teaching to support this work?

      Group E

      http://pacecommons.org/groups/profile/8353/group-d
      Sub-Group of ED 656 - Fall 2018

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