Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Thoughts on literacy...

When I began teaching at Northbrook High School four years ago, I entered a high school with a high percentage of English language learners in which I had the task of teaching chemistry to --a whole new language itself. With this new challege and a desire to give my students my best, my fascination and interest in literacy began. How could I as a chemistry teacher help students with both general English literacy and scientific literacy?

This summer my fascination continues and I have begun reading a book entitled, The Right to Literacy in Secondary Schools: Creating a Culture of Thinking. (It is edited by Suzanne Plaut.)

Here are a couple of her opening thoughts:
    "Our youth are truly free only when they are fully literate--when they are able to not only observe but comprehend, and not only comprehend but evaluate, or take a critical stance; when they can ask about the author's or source's bias and viewpoints, note which voices are silenced or discounted, examine issues from alternative perspectives, and take action on the basis of what they have learned (McLaughlin and DeVoogd, 2004). Then they can analyze, evaluate, critique and question text. 
    Adolescents have the right to such literacy. They have a right to schooling conditions that empower them to achieve it. And they have a right to what that literacy makes possible for them within and beyond school."

Again, I have only just begun reading but I am excited to continue reading and see what I comprehend, evaluate, critique and question as I go. I hope to increase my literacy to better foster literacy of my students in the upcoming school year. 

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