Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Every teacher an English teacher? Literacy strategy teaching and research in the content area of science education
by Buckingham, Thomas, Ph.D., Indiana University, 2012, 192; 3509894
Abstract (Summary)

Recent statements from teachers of English and literacy (NCTE, 2007) have voiced the failure of schools to help minority students and ELLs close the literacy achievement gap and the responsibility of all teachers to help with this endeavor. Central to this effort in secondary schools are the content area teachers, as their subjects constitute the bulk of school day instruction. While there have been small studies and field reports of what content teachers are or are not teaching in the way of literacy instruction (Fisher and Ivey, 2005; Verplaste, 1996, 1998; Vacca and Vacca 1989), researchers have not had success measuring the literacy practices of content area teachers in a broad-based study.

This study focuses specifically on what many researchers in both the content literacy and ESL fields have emphasized for promoting literacy in the classroom—teaching metacognitive strategies. Twelve metacognitive functions derived from a literacy strategies handbook are employed as a means to ascertain strategy usage within the lessons whether specifically known content strategies are named or not. The initial analysis is performed on over 100 lesson plans hosted at four prominent university science education sites, all within a five year period (2003-7). In addition to the lesson plan analysis, a review of 100 articles taken from five on-line science education journals reveal what the science education field addresses this issue.

Findings suggest that while 80% of science teachers include some type of strategic teaching and learning in their lessons, only about 20% of science teachers explicitly utilize strategies as listed in content literacy manuals and promoted by literacy and ESL experts. Rather, most science teachers implicitly include these strategies within their lessons and/or promote their own subject-specific strategies in content teaching. Analysis of science education research and publications shows that there is a focus on literacy and specifically strategic learning; however, the evidence does not suggest that science teachers necessarily follow these suggested offerings—even when it comes to their own national organization’s offerings in this area.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Mikulecky, Larry
Commitee: Damico, James, Nyikos, Martha, Sherwood, Robert
School: Indiana University
Department: School of Education
School Location: United States -- Indiana
Source: DAI-A 73/10(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Secondary education, Literacy, Reading instruction, Science education
Keywords: Content area literacy, ESL, Lesson planning, Metacognition, Science, Strategies, Struggling readers
Publication Number: 3509894
ISBN: 978-1-267-36966-6
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