Friday, June 8, 2012

Disciplinary Knowledge

Question: How should teachers in disciplines help students experience their disciplines in an active manner?

From a review of a book entitled Envisioning Knowledge: Building Literacy in the Academic Disciplines. JA Langer. 2011. New York: Teachers College Press.

Quote: “Instead, the literacy that she advocates requires students to ‘experience disciplinary inquiry first-hand’ and ‘engage in setting questions, exploring possibilities, developing points of reference, and finding ways to seek answers in all their coursework. They need to dig beneath the surface of the disciplines, to explore substantive issues and questions that they can connect to larger issues within the field and the world. They need to develop the habits of mind and the literacy abilities that will permit them to think, talk, read and write about, and use their knowledge flexibly, both in and out of school.’” P. 157.

Comment: In other words, students need to become practitioners in the discipline, understanding the questions that need resolution, developing the skills to write about these questions and to seek knowledge that suggest answers to these questions. Judith Langer is one of the people in our profession whose intellect I admire greatly. Whatever she writes (she was a past co-editor of Research in the Teaching of English)is worth paying attention to. She stimulates thought. This quote suggests an approach to learning in the disciplines that I first found in The Art of Teaching by Gilbert Highet. RayS.

Title: “Professional Resources.” RJ Draper. Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy (April 2012), 662-663.

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