Disciplinary Literacy

Improve your teaching practice with practical disciplinary literacy strategies to apprentice students as readers, writers and thinkers of the disciplines.

Disciplinary Literacy: Apprenticing students as readers, writers and thinkers of the disciplines

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Before your students can develop the cognitive abilities they need to achieve college and career readiness, it’s vital that they learn how to comprehend and critically evaluate various texts, especially when introduced to new disciplines for the first time.

Covering the latest research and best practices from working educators in the field of disciplinary literacy, teachers in this course will learn the knowledge and strategies needed to successfully develop their students' reading and writing abilities in different disciplines.

On completion of this course, you will be able to design lesson plans that help your students develop their critical-thinking skills within your chosen discipline, leading to stronger learning outcomes for each and every student in your classroom.

Developed by Teach Away in partnership with leading education experts from the University of Michigan, this course is recommended for high school educators in all subjects and disciplines.

Anytime
None
None
Anywhere
10 hours
100% online and self-paced
Non-degree professional certificate
$125 USD
Disciplinary learning for educators

Course Curriculum

Explore the course curriculum

After this module, participants will be able to:

  • Define literacy and disciplinary literacy.
  • Develop a list of important disciplinary literacy practices specific to their discipline for students to draw on.
  • Differentiate between disciplinary literacy and content area literacy instructional practice.
  • Re-state reasons why disciplinary literacy instruction is important.
  • Identify examples of the E’s (examine, elicit, engineer, examine, evaluate).

After this module, participants will be able to:

  • Understand how to frame a problem for study.
  • Engage in strategic text selection and analysis.
  • Assess the necessary skills, knowledge and practices required for a particular discipline.
  • Use the 4E Heuristic to elicit student knowledge, skills and practices in relation to the discipline being taught and engineer students’ use of disciplinary practices in connection to framed problems.

After this module, participants will be able to:

  • Engage students in the practices of working with data and information to address a problem.
  • Build activities in which students use a text selected by the teacher.
  • Elicit student knowledge and skills and engineer new knowledge and skills as students work with a text.
  • Gradually release responsibility when it comes to students using their skills and knowledge.

After this module, participants will be able to:

  • Revisit a problem or question to think about what information or data is needed and how to organize it.
  • Assist students to review information in a text and make decisions about what is more relevant to the problem or question at hand.
  • Develop and implement a plan to organize data or information in a way that it can be easily processed and analyzed, including in discussions, graphic organizers, note-taking protocol and text annotations.
  • Analyze and synthesize information/data across the sources in the service of resolving the disciplinary problem or question.

After this module, participants will be able to:

  • Engage students in the practices of communicating a claim about a problem after they have analyzed and synthesized information.
  • Understand how to elicit student knowledge to communicate a claim and engineer the development of relevant student knowledge and skills.
  • Consider how disciplinarians communicate claims and share ideas and how this process might look like in your classroom.
  • Understand the RAFT (Role, Audience, Format, Topic) framework and the role audiences play in communicating a claim.

Course Instructors

Elizabeth Birr Moje
Dean, School of Education at the University of Michigan

Elizabeth Birr Moje is the dean, George Herbert Mead Collegiate Professor in education and an Arthur F Thurnau Professor in the School of Education at the University of Michigan. She also serves as a faculty associate in the university’s Institute for Social Research, in Latino/a Studies, and in the Joint Program in English and Education. Prior to becoming dean, Moje was associate dean for research and community engagement for the School of Education for six years and a faculty member for 20 years. A former high school history and biology teacher, Moje’s research examines young people’s navigations of culture, identity and literacy learning in and out of school in Detroit, Michigan. She has long-standing relationships with schools and youth organizations in the city with whom she partners on public scholarship initiatives.

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Darin Stockdill
Instructional and Program Design Coordinator, Center for Education Design, Evaluation, and Research (CEDER) at the University of Michigan

Darin Stockdill is the Design Coordinator for the University of Michigan’s Center for Education Design, Evaluation, and Research (CEDER) and is responsible for managing the instructional and program design projects of CEDER. Before joining the staff of CEDER, Darin was the Content Area Literacy Consultant for the Oakland (Michigan) Schools ISD for four years. Prior to this, he was a graduate student in Education at Michigan, teaching content area literacy methods courses to pre-service teachers and researching adolescent literacy. Before graduate study, Darin was a classroom social studies and English teacher in Detroit for 10 years, working with both middle and high school students. His academic interests revolve around the connections between problem-based instruction and education for social justice, as well as the intersections of youth literacy practices and disciplinary literacies.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Course-specific questions

Disciplinary literacy is the process of learning and understanding a new discipline or subject. It is the knowledge of and skills associated with specialized language and technical vocabulary. Disciplinary literacy relies on prior knowledge of the topic being taught and is centered around inquiry. While reading comprehension is a key factor in disciplinary literacy, disciplinary literacy does not involve close reading, vocabulary instruction, or academic/functions of language instruction.

This course is well-suited to high school teachers. It is also highly applicable to educators teaching grades 4 and up, when students begin entering the disciplines. All teachers looking to improve students’ reading, writing, communication and use of evidence in their discipline can benefit from this course.

This course is also recommended for educators in instructional leadership, classroom coaches, instructional specialists in the disciplines and literacy coaches.

The course was designed by educators, for educators. You will learn directly from first-hand accounts of teacher experts who are experienced in uses of disciplinary literacy strategy. Many courses on disciplinary literacy are more heavily theory-based and can lack practical takeaways for working teachers.

We recognize that understanding theory is not what makes a good teacher so the focus of the course is on analyzing, critiquing and creating practical strategies and activities that you can implement in your classroom immediately. However, developing an inquiry into your practice requires an understanding of major teaching and learning theories, therefore certain elements of the course are based on disciplinary literacy theory and research.

Teachers of all disciplines can benefit from the course. Not specific to one particular subject area, teachers are required to move through the course applying their learnings directly to their daily teaching practice. The course features first-hand accounts from disciplinarians from a wide variety of disciplines to round out teachers’ development throughout the course. Finally, through formative assessments teachers will develop the tools to adapt their teaching for disciplinary literacy strategy.

Absolutely! While literacy is widely understood to be a skill taught in the English or language arts classroom, every discipline has its own methods of reading and writing. This course will give teachers the tools and disciplinary literacy strategies to improve student learning and engagement in their discipline.

Enrollment

At the end of the course there is a multiple-choice assessment covering all content. Learners will also be required to submit a written assignment as a final summative activity. The passing grade for all assignments and tests is 70%.

No. There are no in-class components to the course.

Check with your district and state licensure requirements as the certificate may satisfy these requirements.

Tuition and payment

Participants can purchase the course here.
After purchasing the course, you will receive an email with a code and a link to get started. You are required to use the code in order to activate your account so you can create a profile and get started!

Visa, American Express, Mastercard and Paypal are all accepted as methods of payment.

No. Payment for the course is due in full upon registration and payment plans are not available.

Financial aid is not available.

This course is non-refundable. Please make sure that a course is approved by your governing body for any professional development requirements before purchasing.