COACHING DISCIPLINARY LITERACY PRACTICES: A CASE STUDY ON SCIENCE INSTRUCTION AND LEARNING
Johns Hopkins University
Instruction in areas like mathematics, science, and social studies focuses solely on teaching the content. However, to deeply understand the content, literacy skills must be incorporated. Disciplinary literacy instruction emphasizes that each discipline has a set of unique and specialized literacy skills that students must learn to understand the content of that discipline. A mixed-methods needs assessment revealed that elementary teachers have knowledge of basic and intermediate literacy skills, and they prioritize encouraging a love of reading. Also, the teachers reported not knowing how to support students with literacy strategies in the content areas. The second phase of the study was an intervention designed to examine the impact of literacy coaching on the implementation of disciplinary literacy practices in an elementary classroom and on teacher knowledge of disciplinary literacy practices. A case study design was used to incorporate qualitative data to best understand the target population and develop a rich description of how participants understand and incorporate disciplinary literacy practices in a science classroom. An inquiry approach enabled incorporation of the voices, opinions, and beliefs of the teachers. Participants included two elementary teachers who took part in one pre- intervention observation, six literacy coaching sessions, three post-intervention observations, and one interview over the course of 3–4 weeks. Findings include that the mandated curriculum had a major impact on the teaching of science. After the coaching sessions, the teachers incorporated the literacy practices that scientists use by implementing student collaboration, student talk, and inquiry. The teachers found the literacy coaching sessions to be helpful and valuable toward their understandings of the science discipline.
disciplinary literacy, elementary science teachers, case study, literacy coaching, qualitative coding