Exploring Secondary Discipline-Specialist Teachers’ Engagement with Discipline-Specific Texts

  • Author / Creator
    Dickson, Marylou Ruth
  • The purpose of this multiple case study, framed by sociocultural theory, was to explore how secondary discipline specialists engage with discipline-specific texts. When teacher specialists read discipline-specific texts they may not be able to articulate all their metalinguistic awareness. By increasing this awareness, educators increase the tools they have at their disposal for communicating the literacy practices they use to comprehend texts. This research, which took place over several months, involved four discipline-specific specialists—from mathematics, science (biology, physics, or chemistry), English language arts, and social studies—who shared their understandings of how they engaged with discipline-specific texts. Through face-to-face, audio-recorded interviews and think-aloud protocols, the four participants explained and modelled discipline-specific text engagement.
    Findings revealed that although the participants were competent discipline-specific text readers, the automaticity of their thinking and their limited awareness of several reading Discourses impeded their ability to verbalize all the literacy practices they employ. Several contributions to scholarship are articulated, emphasizing teachers’ need for greater cognizance of discipline-specific literacy practice use and think aloud as a research tool. Contributions to pedagogy include creating a greater awareness of individual secondary discipline-specialist literacy practice use by improving teacher preparation programs, in-service teacher education, and the roles of administrators and policy-makers. This study contributes to the importance of having secondary-discipline specialists understand discipline-specific text metalinguistic awareness, and has the potential to create classrooms that are more discipline-specific and literacy-rich. Secondary students are required to read a plethora of texts, and by being taught how to engage discipline-specific texts as discipline specialists, they will develop the capacity to read and think as discipline specialists.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Spring 2022
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Doctor of Education
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.