By Rashieda D. Addison-Gantt, Adjunct Faculty
Over the summer, the English Teacher Coordinator and I were charged with developing a plan to implementing school wide Reading and Writing Across the Curriculum. One of the tenants of the Common Core State Standards is that all teachers are literacy teachers.
After a recent professional development session with the instructional leadership team, I sought advice from the English Teacher Coordinator regarding how to support teachers of performance-based electives in their role of implementing the school-wide literacy vision. We thought that our current literacy plan clearly facilitated the reality that ALL TEACHERS ARE LITERACY TEACHERS. Needless to say, the overarching goal is to “Develop a climate and culture where there is clear evidence that literacy and writing are being explicitly taught in all subject areas.” It was and still is our hope that we can accelerate the internalization of this fact. At the same time, we wish all teachers were independently immersed in this work and building their own capacity.
Dr. Young reminded me that we know “change” is going to be challenged. Nevertheless, it is imperative that all members of the educational community embrace the efforts to produce college and career ready students. Higher education instructors are disappointed in the literacy levels of students when they arrive on campus. This is evident in the number of students who are required to take remedial courses to become acclimated to higher education standards. At some point, the pure implementation of Common Core State Standards will significantly reduce the need for freshmen students to take non-credit remedial courses.
In closing the collaborative banter, I asserted the theory that colleges, universities and alternative teacher preparation programs must also shift. All teachers should be trained like elementary teachers to deliver multiple subject areas. Collegiality at the elementary level supports the whole child product, but is often lost at the secondary level. At the secondary level, content teachers departmentalize and it is evident in student’s inability to successfully transition to college and beyond. This idea is validated in the video entitled, “Why we need Common Core – I Choose -C”. The video pokes fun at the very real idea that the traditional schoolhouse has been producing instructionally compartmentalized citizens who lack the ability to make connections from school to the workforce.
Dr. Young’s final thoughts reminded me of the vision that has already been set forth that we have to SHIFT to interdisciplinary, and/or transdisciplinary instruction in order to prepare our students to avoid compartmentalizing the subject matter. Hence, we must weave literacy skills through all subject areas so that students are able to cohesively synthesize the learning experiences. Common Core promotes this idea.
Gutierrez, R. N. (Producer). (2012, August 27). Why We Need Common Core – I Choose “C” [Web Video]. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dY2mRM4i6tY
Young, R. (2013, August 4). Interview by R. Addison-Gantt. Common core state standards: Reading & writing across curriculum school wide initiative.