Disciplinary Literacy

Integrating Disciplinary Literacy in the Classroom

What is Disciplinary Literacy?

Disciplinary Literacy is the idea that students should be engaged in the literacy practices situated within the disciplines. Teachers within content area classrooms are asked to implement disciplinary literacy instruction by teaching their students to consider how an expert in that discipline would approach the task and approach it in the same way. Experts within different disciplines approach texts in different ways and value different aspects of a text. Students are asked to consider how an expert in that discipline would approach the text, considering the aspects that they value within the text, and analyze the information from the perspective of an expert within that discipline.
Dr. P. David Pearson Discusses Disciplinary Literacy

Why Should We Implement Disciplinary Literacy?

If students are taught to approach the content area text in the way an expert of that discipline would, they will develop a deeper understanding of the content. Each discipline has it's own way of communicating meaning based on the valued practices within that discipline. Since the information across disciplines is communicated differently, it's important for students to be able to read and write using skills appropriate to that discipline in order to gain full understanding of the content.
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Response Heuristic- Strategy to Implement Disciplinary Literacy

Response Heuristic is a strategy that is originally used in English but can be adapted for other content areas. Students fill in a three-column graphic organizer where the first column is literal information, the second column is inferential/interpretive thinking, and the third column is application level thinking. This strategy must be adapted for use in different content areas. For example, to use this strategy in a science classroom, students would identify an observation, make inferences about that observation, and come to a conclusion based on their understanding of the data/observation and their inferences. This teaches the students to look at the information from the perspective of a scientist and analyze it in the way a scientist would to develop a deeper understanding of the content.
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