Disciplinary literacy: The role of the principal and improving content area knowledge through literacy and the collaborative work of teachers
Lee, Yassmin Caram
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Current research in secondary literacy suggests students in high school academic programs continue to need additional support in major content areas, such as Math, Science and English. Apart from solely supporting critical skills in literacy in the English/Language Arts classrooms, traditional content area instruction without embedded content literacy has not proven to be successful for many students. Many researchers argue this is because literacy tasks and texts are more complex than earlier grades. The purpose of this research is to examine the implementation of disciplinary literacy in the content areas using writing. This study describes the work that takes place involving me, the principal, and the literacy coaches who collaborate with the content area teachers to improve content knowledge. This study examines the principal's point of view and the literacy coaches' reflections on beliefs and process in a reflective methodological approach. The study involves five participants; the data collection includes meeting agendas, work-related notes on professional development, notes on meetings with literacy coaches, interviews with participants, and my research journal. Interviews with participants are audio-recorded and transcribed. In addition to this my advisor, as well as the qualitative lab assistants, contribute to the data analysis. The study reveals my beliefs about improving student performance through disciplinary literacy by 1) shared responsibility, 2) collaboration, and 3) teamwork. My findings also reveal that the structures support the school-wide vision through 1) professional development, 2) infrastructure and process, and 3) reflection and discussion. This study offers one perspective on the how-to steps of the implementation of school-wide disciplinary literacy from the ground up and five lessons learned.