Week 3 Reading Assignment


Disciplinary-based literacy is the convergence of content specific knowledge and skills with the ability to read, write, and interpret text within the context of a specific discipline. The core belief behind disciplinary-based literacy is that professionals within any given field spend half of their job applying those skills. For example, there are tasks in the science professions that require content specific literacy skills such as data interpretation. Within the context of literacy, students are faced with increasingly complex texts. To manage the challenge, students must be equipped with the skills required within a specific content area. This is of particular concern in my classroom. Within my curriculum, students are expected to demonstrate their ability to annotate text and extract information. They are also require to communicate their ideas within a specific scientific framework. For example, during my mold jello lab, students were asked to formulate a hypothesis using the correct sentence structure. Students should be writing their hypothesis as follows, “My hypothesis states that mold will not grow without a food source”. This sentence structure is applied in the professional science settings outside of the classroom. In the context of disciplinary-based literacy, teachers should be providing opportunities for their students to think like scientists, historians,mathematicians, and literary critics (Cervetti, G. & Pearson, P.D.2012). Shanahan and Shanahan found that experts in each discipline approach texts differently (Cervetti, G. & Pearson, P.D.2012). The Cervetti and Pearson article compares how mathematicians and scientists interpret text within their respective disciplines. While mathematicians search for real answers within the text, scientists tend to examine the credibility of text, it’s creation process, and procedures used to obtain results (Cervetti, G. & Pearson, P.D.2012). In terms of scientific literacy, Shanahan and Shanahan suggest that in order to “do science”, students should be reading scientific text while demonstrating understanding of the inquiry methods that produced scientific facts. Students should also get an understanding of the nature of science that helps to better answer questions about the natural world (Cervetti, G. & Pearson, P.D.2012). This process of disciplinary-based literacy is how we get students to think within the context of a specific field, such as science .In my biology 3 class, we spend an entire unit on the nature of science and how we can use it to answer real life questions. My co-teacher and I spend 3 days preparing to answer the following question; which of the following liquids has the highest vitamin C content? Orange soda, Emergen-C, or 100% pure orange juice? Using the nature of science processes, students are able to formulate, test, and answer a question about something they might use in real life. Within that framework, students are also gaining an understanding of the value in using the nature of science method to improve their lives via reflection questions and class discussion.Technology is becoming a key component in discipline-based literacy. Adolescents are now developing and applying literacy skills through various digital mediums. Technology is becoming the default way adolescents apply literacy in and out of the classroom, which comes with benefits. According to Biancarosa, adolescents are able to access background information,definitions for unfamiliar vocabulary terms, and find relevant information locations through search engines (Biancarosa, G. 2012). In my Current Events in Biology class, I have implemented technology in the form of Google classroom. Each student logs into the digital classroom, which includes powerpoints, guided notes, and scientific literacy assignments. The incorporation of technology in the classroom is a result of the increased push for STEM education. STEM education places emphasis on technology and engineering integrated with science and math. With that in mind however, we have to remember the human side of literacy. As Tom Lynch put it, teaching adolescents to understand the humanitarian limitations of software continue to push inquiry based learning (Lynch, T.L. 2015). To simplify, we do not want adolescents to become emotionless robot. With everything in mind, an educator is left to figure out implementation of discipline-based literacy in the curriculum. There are different approaches that can work for a particular space. One might choose a sociocultural approach, which views text as ideological and value-laden (Fang, Z. 2012). In comparison, another educator might find direction in the mental routines and procedures within the confines of the cognitive approach (Fang, Z. 2012). Each approach has it’s value and should be exploited in order to provide adolescents with a strong set of resources to implement literacy in both in and outside of the classroom.






















Biancarosa, G. (2012). Adolescent literacy: More than remediation. Educational Leadership, 69(8), 22-27.

Cervetti, G. & Pearson, P.D.2012). Reading, writing, and thinking like a scientist. Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy, 55(7), 580-586.

Fang , Z. (2012). Approaches to developing content area literacies. Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy, 52(2), 103-108.

Hillman, A. (2014). A literature review on disciplinary literacy: How do secondary students apprentice students into mathematical literacy? Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy, 57(5), 397-406.

Lynch, T. L. (2015). Spreadsheets and sinners: How and why English teachers can claim their rightful place in STEM education. English Journal, 49(3).

    • Gerald Ardito
      Gerald Ardito


      Your response was very thoughtful.

      Please be sure, however, to follow the guidelines for annotating your writing. You can find them here.

    Group A

    Here is the online home for you sub group this semester.
    Sub-Group of ED 656 - Fall 2018

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