Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Cross-disciplinary collaboration in English Leadership Quarterly

We began our work together around the informational text standard of the Common Core. We wanted to encourage language arts teachers to think about ways to use informational text to enhance their teaching, particularly so that they wouldn’t feel that using informational text meant moving away from literature. Our goal was (and is) to help language arts teachers see that informational text can connect with and enhance the literary content.

Somewhere along the way, we realized that content area teachers in all the disciplines needed help in thinking about how informational text could connect with and enhance their content as well. And they also needed help in thinking about the literacy skills necessary to negotiate these texts. 

So we started adapting the materials we’d developed for using informational text to teach literature in order to make them better serve content area teachers. And we started to think about how language arts teachers and other content area teachers could use this moment as an opportunity to come together and collaborate.

This kind of cross-disciplinary work is time consuming; and all collaboration poses significant challenges. But we want our students to succeed and we want our teaching to meet the demands of the Common Core and of the 21st century, so we need to rise to these new challenges.

This week our reflections on professional development that can help teachers meet these challenges has been published in English Leadership Quarterly. We hope that our efforts might provide a model or stepping-stone for other educators embarking on this challenging but rewarding journey. 

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