Reid- Week 3 Readings

Disciplinary literacy is content-specific instruction. It is a shift from the all inclusive strategies connected with literacy such as questioning, visualizing, and summarizing. Disciplinary literacy will allow students to structure their way of tackling a text or problem in the mindset of experts in the field. This approach is more interactive and engaging for the students, while preparing them for success in college and their career. Hillman’s approach to mathematical literacy is focused on how mathematicians work through and communicate their data. In order for students to think like a mathematician, they must process the problem like a mathematician- using planning, reasoning, and routines. Teachers can structure problem solving strategies by modeling an appropriate thinking process and asking “probing questions” (403). Yet, texts drastically increase in complexity throughout a student’s academic career. Students are expected to absorb strenuous readings from several core classes and “lacking proper instruction, many students struggle to navigate the escalating discipline-specific diversity of texts (Biancarosa 24).” Biancarosa commends teachers’ explicit instruction and modeling as necessities for students to learn the different disciplinary norms.


There is a common thread throughout content areas that disciplinary literacy proponents like Cervetti think is much less important than their differences. Mathematicians focus on the reasoning and verification of a solution. Historians highlight the bias and source of the text. Scientists analyze data and the source of the data to strengthen or disprove a connection (583). The common thread of analysis, questioning, and reasoning run through all of the disciplines, so why are they treated so differently. Lynch shows the connection between STEM and ELA by using coding language and STEM principles in an English curriculum by exposing a quantitative aspect to literature. Switching between strategies for each core class may be overwhelming and discouraging, especially for underperforming students. All disciplines can use the same foundation and just add their own spin to avoid a disconnect between content learning.


Ideal disciplinary literacy will also interact with the students. It will successfully integrate the strengths of the “cognitive, sociocultural, linguistics, and critical approaches" to content area literacy (Fang 103). In my class now, I push my students to formulate questions either to clear up a misunderstanding or to help understand a topic in a more real world manner. Science is usually cause and effect based, but that can lead to unjustified connections, so I plan to stress the importance of review and re experimentation, before drawing conclusions. In the future, I would like to implement a more scientific approach, especially in the lab. Perhaps we can develop a peer review protocol in which they share and analyze their peers’ experimental setup and data, much like scientist do.


    • Gerald Ardito
      Gerald Ardito


      Thanks for your response.

      Perhaps I am reading something that is not there, but I here you articulating a gap between what these authors are suggesting/calling for and what happens/can happen in a typical classroom. Am I wrong?

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    Sub-Group of ED 656 - Fall 2018

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