My Ideological Stance in Content Area Instruction


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I present my ideological stance in content area instruction by first providing background information about the students and their goals and challenges regarding attaining proficiency in academic literacy practices. I then briefly summarize my ideological stance regarding teaching students in content area instruction, followed by describing three pedagogical approaches to integrate academic literacy into my instruction so as to provide equity and access for all students to succeed in content understanding.

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My Ideological Stance in Content Area Instruction

  1. 1. Only ConnectMy Ideological Stance in Content Area Instruction Sherrie Lee, MAT@USCEDUC 505T Integrating Literacy in Secondary Content Instruction, Dr Evelyn Monat
  2. 2. Background of Students ~ Goal: Academic Literacy ~ Challenge: Coercive PowerIntroduction Relations
  3. 3. Background of Students Technical college in Singapore 17-18 years old studying Business subjects Heterogeneous: wide ranging abilities in academic reading and writing; different socioeconomic backgrounds. Passive learners: passive reception of information and knowledge; students tend to be quiet in class. Not confident of their ability to respond to questions in class; wait for teacher to provide answers.
  4. 4. Goal: Academic Literacy Academic literacy = reading and writing; success in content understanding and assessments; required in higher education Literacy = Mastery of a secondary Discourse (Gee, 2012, p. 173) Academic literacy = mastering distinctive ways of writing/reading coupled with distinctive ways of acting, interacting, valuing, feeling, dressing, thinking, believing with other people and various objects, tools and technologies” (Gee, 2012, p. 152) Mastery of a Discourse = acquisition through models + learning through meta-knowledge (Gee, 2012, p. 174).
  5. 5. Challenge: Coercive PowerRelations Students’ past test scores in English language determine teachers’ attitude toward students’ ability to excel in academic reading and writing. Students’ use of primary Discourse of non- standard, colloquial language in the classroom seen as a reflection of students’ lack of academic abilities. Coercive power relations between teachers and students where teachers indirectly prepare students to accept the status quo regarding their academic abilities (Cummins, 2003, p. 25).
  6. 6. Promote active learning ~ Teach Acquisition and LearningMy Ideological ~ Stance Empower students
  7. 7. Cooperative Learning ~ Modeling ~Pedagogical Using Primary DiscourseApproaches
  8. 8. Cooperative Learning Cooperative learning encourages positive interdependence, individual accountability, equal participation and simultaneous interaction (Kagan, 1998, p. 108). Complex mental processes begin as social activities and evolve into internal mental activities which students can use independently in the future (Ormrod, 2011, p. 40). Use of pair and group work in cooperative learning allows a student’s learning to be scaffolded by both capable and similar ability peers (Ormrod, 2011, p. 45).
  9. 9. Modeling Teaching that leads to acquisition means to apprentice students in a master-apprentice relationship through exposure to models “in natural, meaningful, and functional settings (Gee, 2012, p. 174-175). Use content-based instruction where the teaching of academic skills is done through “exposure to content that is interesting and relevant to learners” (Brinton, 2003, p. 201). Use think-alouds: make thinking explicit by verbalizing thoughts while completing a task (Vacca, Vacca, & Mraz, 2011, p. 197). Modeling not only teaches students new behaviors and skills, it also boosts their self- confidence (Ormrod, 2011, p. 334).
  10. 10. Using Primary Discourse Use students’ primary Discourse to mediate their learning of a secondary Discourse. A person’s primary Discourse is acquired as a result of family socialization (Gee, 2012) and for many students, their primary Discourse includes oral literacy in non-standard colloquial speech. Students’ oral literacy, however informal and deemed unacceptable, is the carrier for their personal perspectives that needs to addressed before teachers can move on less familiar literacies of reading and writing (Kern & Schultz, 2005, p. 384).
  11. 11. Using Primary Discourse (cont’d) Narrow definition of academic literacy = strict adherence to standard forms and conventions = students who do not meet the standards are viewed as deficient (Kern & Schultz, 2005, p. 389). Expand the notion of literacy = link students’ primary Discourse to the secondary Discourse of academic skills Encourage students to use informal language to talk or write about their reactions to a reading passage to address their unique or even culturally-specific ways of thinking. Validate their worldview, motivate them to connect with the academic ways of thinking that I seek to teach (Delpit, 2002, p. 45).
  12. 12. Conclusion Use the three pedagogical approaches of cooperative learning, modeling and using students’ primary Discourse to combat the coercive power relations that exist between teachers and students. Collaborative relations of power = affirm my students’ sense of identity by allowing them to be confident participants during lessons, as well as in all other interactions with me (Cummins, 2003, p. 19). We must reconnect them to their own brilliance and gain their trust so that they will learn from us (Delpit, 2002, p. 48).
  13. 13. ReferencesBrinton, D. M. (2003). Content-based instruction. In D. Nunan (Ed.), Practical English language teaching (pp.199-224). New York: McGraw Hill.Cummins, J. (2005). Teaching the language of academic success: A framework for school-based languagepolicies. In Schooling and language minority students: A theoretical framework (3rd ed., pp. 3-32). Sacramento,CA: LBD Publishers.Delpit, L. (2002). No kinda sense. In L. Delpit, (Ed.), The skin that we speak: Thoughts on language and culturein the classroom (pp. 34-48). NY: The New York Press.Gee, J. (2012). Discourses and literacies. Social linguistics and literacies: Ideology in discourses (4th ed.) (pp.147-178). New York, NY: Routledge.Kagan, S. (1998). New cooperative learning, multiple intelligences, and inclusion. In J. W. Putnam and R. W.Slavin (Eds.), Cooperative learning and strategies for inclusion: Celebrating diversity in the classroom (pp.105-136). Baltimore, MD: Brookes Publishing.Kern, R. & Schultz, J. M. (2005). Beyond orality: investigating literacy and the literary in second and foreignlanguage instruction. The Modern Language Journal, 89(3), pp. 381-392.Ormrod, J.E. (2011). Educational psychology: Developing learners (7th ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson.Vacca, R. T., Vacca, J. L., & Mraz, M. (2011). Content area reading: Literacy and learning across thecurriculum (10th ed.). Boston: Pearson.