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College of Education

Faculty quartet collaborates on

new disciplinary literacy article

An innovative, collaborative approach to thinking about disciplinary literacy has resulted in a new article by four College of Education faculty members.

The article, “Disciplinary Literacy through the Lens of the Next Generation Science Standards,” was published in the February 2016 issue of the Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy.  Faculty collaborators in the exploratory project – and the article – were Ana Houseal, assistant professor of  elementary and early childhood education and outreach science educator; Victoria Gillis, professor and Wyoming Excellence in Higher Education Endowed Chair in Literacy; Mark Helmsing, assistant professor of secondary education; and Linda Hutchison, associate professor of secondary education.

“Ana and I had been having discussions about her conceptualization of the Next Generation Science Standards, specifically her graphic representation of how the three parts of the standards [Disciplinary Core Ideas, Cross Cutting Concepts, and Scientific and Engineering Practices] fit together to produce desired learning in science,” Gillis explains. “I recognized at once that the Cross Cutting Concepts and the Scientific and Engineering Practices embodied the kinds of thinking and practices that anchor disciplinary literacy. We enlisted the help of Mark Helmsing, in social studies education, and Linda Hutchison, in mathematics education, as we crafted the article.”

The article abstract:


The current discussion among adolescent literacy researchers describes two positions at either end of a continuum: a generalist content area reading approach and a disciplinary literacy approach. Within the field, there are misunderstandings about the disciplinary literacy approach and claims that adolescents are ill suited to the kinds of thinking advocated by disciplinary literacy scholars. This article explores disciplinary literacy through the lens of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and argues that requirements for discipline-appropriate literacy abilities are already embedded in national standards for English language arts, mathematics, science, and social studies. We explore the practices and cross-cutting concepts described in the NGSS and provide examples of discipline-appropriate thinking associated with selected practices and concepts.


To access the article (subscription required, possibly available through your local interlibrary loan service), click here.


Disciplinary Literacy Article

Literacy article title page

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