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Literacy Report Promotes Collaborative Teaching for 21st-century Learning

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April 5, 2013

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Literacy Report Promotes Collaborative Teaching for 21st-century Learning

On April 3, the National Center for Literacy Education held a briefing on Capitol Hill to promote its latest report "Remodeling Literacy Learning: Making Room for What Works." The report was based on the responses of 2,400 educators of all roles, grade levels and subject areas to find out where we stand regarding literacy support, the kinds of training and resources available, professional collaboration and supports needed. ACTE has participated in the coalition and CTE educators were included in the survey.

Key findings from the survey include the following:

  1. Literacy is not just the English teacher's job anymore
  2. Working together is working smarter
  3. But schools aren't structured to facilitate educators working together
  4. Many of the building blocks for remodeling literacy learning and are in place
  5. Effective collaboration needs systemic support

A panel of teachers, administrators and policy experts discussed. Sarah Brown Wessling, a former Council of Chief State School Officers National Teacher of the Year said literacy teaching shouldn't be just a "check off" on a list but that it needs to include real work and collaboration. Her school worked for two years on a rubric which involved all teachers in the school which resulted in a culture of urgency as opposed to a culture of accountability. Other presenters discussed how their schools and districts had been transformed by similar efforts.

A significant issue is determining how to build into the school day the collaboration and other professional development needed to transform teaching and learning. Panelists indicated this is key and that we cannot expect teachers to add on the time to their already busy days. Deborah Delisle, Assistant Secretary at the Department of Education's Office of Elementary and Secondary Education discussed the RESPECT initiative as one way to support teachers in their work on literacy.

The NCLE report includes a set of policy recommendations for educators, principals and policymakers. Among the recommendations for policymakers included are:

  • Support of conditions that enable educators and principals to stay current in the literacy learning development general by such influences as technology, brain research and emergent areas of integrated study and practice
  • Through legislation, guidelines and rulemaking, affirm the conditions necessary for educator collaboration such as school factors to improve student learning over time rather than focusing on teachers evaluation tied to short-term changes based on test scores
  • Invest in professional learning that builds on what educators learn on a daily basis from observing, analyzing and formatively assessing student learning

View ACTE's Issue Brief: CTE's Role in Adolescent Literacy.

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