Wednesday, October 1, 2014
This week's Buehl reading addressed many of the issues we've discussed surrounding scientific literacy in the classroom. I thought that it was especially powerful that he presented all of the challenges alongside solutions as well as scientific support for why the struggles (for identity, critical thinking, literacy, and more) were worth pursuing with students. In thinking about the application of Buehl's literacy ideals in my future classroom, I struggled a little with his dismissal of teacher or round robin read-alouds of complex texts. I understand that listening comprehension is a different entity from reading comprehension, but especially with difficult scientific texts it would seem appropriate to apply Vygotsky's Gradual Release of Responsibility Model to the reading experience. Under this model (which Buehl describes on pages 26 and 27), a potential literacy lesson might look like: first the teacher would read the text aloud to the students and 'think-aloud' through her reading process (I do, you watch), then do a close reading with the students where they define confusing terms or concepts together (I do, you help), then have them summarize sections as groups (you do, I help), then have prompting questions about the text to answer as homework or as groups (you do, I watch). Obviously the ultimate goal is to have students reading and working through complex texts on their own, but I think that there is still value to some early scaffolding and strategy work in the form of teacher example.