Several years ago, I was explaining to a colleague the challenges I was having in teaching my class on content area reading and writing. For those that are not literacy educators, this is a class that is taught to (primarily) middle grades and secondary teachers across different content areas (math, science, social studies). In this class, we identify ways to have students read, write, and communicate in their coursework. I usually receive a fair amount of negative evaluations in this course as students did not see the value in embedding reading and writing (or heaven forbid writing poetry) in their classes. They did not learn this way…and they most definitely would not teach this way.
My very wise colleague indicated that I should focus on identifying why pre-service teachers in my class love their field or discipline. From there, embedding literacy practices in the classroom is all about helping to share a love of the discipline with students.
This is not just about helping to build a love of specific content with students. Yes, you could inspire them to pursue a career in microbiology, but this also includes the need to share the knowledge, skills, and dispositions important to the discipline. In plain English, you are sharing not only content in your math course, but you’re also showing students how a mathematician thinks, reads, learns and views the world.
Teaching is all about sharing what you love.
Why do you love your field or discipline?
How can we help you convey that love to others?