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Preparing Content Teachers to Teach Reading and Writing

Teacher's College at Columbia University, in Collaboration with the National Academy for Excellent Teaching, has designed two courses for middle and high school teacher candidates in science and social studies.  The courses combines existing student-teaching seminars in science and social studies with a focus on adolescent literacy that is specific to the content area.

The adolescent literacy course is now required for all science education students and, beginnning in fall 2007, will be required for all social studies education students.  The courses are designed so that preservice teachers learn the literacy techniques in the fall and implement them when they student teach in the spring.  To soldify what is learned in the fall, student teachers are supported by a mentor teacher in their subject area and a content-area supervisor from Teacher's College.
"When you fragment literacy and subject matter, it gets very confusing or the learner," said Dolores Perin, associate professor of psychology and education and coordinator of the Reading Specialist Program.  "Combinig the two offers a twofold benefit.  One is the transfer of learning-I would expect that the literacy skills would transfer to the subject matter.  The second is that the students see an authentic reason for literacy."
This article appeared in the September 2007 edition of the Issue Brief.
Alliance For Excellent Education, Issue Brief September 2007 edition
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