National Writing Project

Remodeling Literacy Learning: Making Room for What Works

Date: April 8, 2013

Summary: NWP is one of 30 stakeholder education organizations associated with the National Center for Literacy Education (NCLE). The first major research findings from the group were released in its report Remodeling Literacy Learning: Making Room for What Works. The report's survey participants include the NWP's nationwide network of teacher-leaders.

 

If we believe that developing student literacy is a shared responsibility, we must support educators as they learn, plan, and teach collaboratively." — NCLE Director Kent Williamson

We have long known that students need core literacy skills to succeed in every subject, including the ability to make thinking and analysis visible through writing and the ability to read complex texts for meaning. To help bridge the gap between essential literacy and content area skills, NWP has joined 29 other leading organizations for educators in serving as a stakeholder in the newly formed National Center for Literacy Education (NCLE) .

The first major research findings from the group were released on Wednesday in its report Remodeling Literacy Learning: Making Room for What Works. The report was based upon survey responses drawn from more than 2,400 educators across all grade levels and subject areas. It investigated the connection between professional learning, teacher collaboration, and student learning. One compelling finding was that 77% of all educators, across grade levels and subject areas, agreed with the statement that "developing student literacy is one of the most important parts of my job."

The report is well-timed, as schools across the country get ready to implement the new Common Core State Standards, which challenge educators to successfully teach complex literacy skills across content areas. The report was emphatic in recommending stronger support for ongoing teacher learning and collaboration. According to NCLE Director Kent Williamson, "If we believe that developing student literacy is a shared responsibility, we must support educators as they learn, plan, and teach collaboratively."

The report outlines critical steps that federal and state policymakers and school officials can take to help eliminate the roadblocks to literacy learning in the content areas, including:

  1. Provide the necessary support to ensure that educators know how to teach the elements of literacy pertinent to their content areas.
  2. Embed educator collaboration in the school day. This is important for deep student learning, and is a necessary prerequisite to the success of other school reforms.  
  3. Fund professional learning that is ongoing, job-embedded and collaborative; educators who engage in this kind of learning are better able to employ and advance literacy learning across grades and subjects.
  4. Structure the use of educator time to maximize their ability to develop collective capacity for improving literacy learning across a school or school system.
  5. Promote accountability by encouraging educators in a school or system to reach shared agreements about successful literacy learning and the steps they will take together to fulfill these agreements.

The most effective school systems in the world design their schools so that educators spend substantial portions of their day working alongside each other to problem solve and grow together. The report concludes that if we want today's students to meet the demands of tomorrow's world, now is the time to remodel our institutions. Teaching can no longer be a solitary pursuit.

To read the full report, visit www.literacyinlearningexchange.org/remodeling.

 

The National Center for Literacy Education (NCLE) is a coalition of 30 professional education associations, policy organizations and foundations united to support schools in elevating literacy learning. Through support for practice, research and policy change, we are building a movement around the power of educator teams to advance literacy learning. Effective collaborative inquiry teams build sustainable capacity in schools by giving teachers skills, structures and support systems to continually learn from and refine their shared practice. NCLE's portfolio of free resources supports and connects educator teams in collaborating across subject areas and school walls to meet student literacy needs, while building accessible knowledge about effective team practices. By using the digital tools available today, combined with the expertise and infrastructure of our stakeholder organizations, we are building a living network to foster the literacies of tomorrow. To find out more, visit us at www.literacyinlearningexchange.org .

The National Writing Project (NWP) is a nationwide network of educators working together to improve the teaching of writing in the nation's schools and in other settings. NWP provides high-quality professional development programs to teachers in a variety of disciplines and at all levels, from early childhood through university. Through its nearly 200 university-based sites located in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, the National Writing Project develops the leadership, programs, and research needed for teachers to help students become successful writers and learners. For more information, visit www.nwp.org.

Download the Report

PDF Download "Remodeling Literacy Learning: Making Room for What Works"

Related Resource Topics

© 2014 National Writing Project