Monday, September 28, 2015

Week 6 (Already)? Ray

I really enjoyed what Buehl had to say in this week’s reading. In high school, I really struggled with the notion that the same reading comprehension skills could NOT work across all disciplines. I think my Disciplinary Literacy Profile would have arrows heavily favoring the math and science parts of this spectrum. I would always read material, regardless of the subject, through the lens of applicability and the search for guiding principles that can help me with future school work. This worked well in math and science because that was the intent of the text—explanations and examples of the basic rules, algorithms, equations, theorems, laws, and so forth, could be widely applied to problems that arise concerning that material. Typically I would NOT have to take notes on this since my thematic interpretation of the material was not important. However, I would try to approach history and english text the same way. I think this particularly frustrated me in English because I hated how no objective answer was ever given, and a slight muddling of interpretation here and there can be used to construe any argument; I would always call English my least favorite subject. History was similar—I found the material much more enlightening than English material, but I always settled for quick scans of the text to gather inportant information and guiding principles rather than reading the text as it was presented. I never truly gained appreciation for the cause/effect nature of all of history and although this was a picture my AP US History teacher tried to paint for us, I was subconsciously stubborn and never adopted a more versatile approach to reading in various disciplines.
            The second chapter has me thinking about what skills I may want to foster in my students for chemistry reading. Although I think there is some resonance with the large biology-specific vocobulary and the challenges presented there, I am not positive vocabulary is just as extensive and specific in chemistry as it is in biology. As I read the Chemistry text for the book I am going to use during clinical interviews on Thursday, my thoughts are the biggest reading comprehension challenge that chemistry students may have is recognizing when very heavily quanititative information is expressed in writing. For example, property trends across the periodic table is much more easily expressed in visual form than in writing but ample information on the topic is contained within the text. As we have discussed modeling ad representations the last couple weeks, I come to see that a heavy dose of representations is not only beneficial but NECESSARY for Chemical text, and therefore the comprehension skills needed in Chemistry include not only reading comprehension but representation comprehension, as it pertains specifically to Chemistry.

            Of course, as I postulate this… am I getting too far from the original idea of reading? 


  1. Absolutely not! I have the same feeling when I first read the chapters. I don't think we are too off in thinking like this. It's important that we always read anything and apply it to our futures in education. I am sou glad that I'm not the only one who thought like this.

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  3. I definitely don't think you're getting too far from the original idea of reading-- I think when we discuss "literacy" in general, it doesn't necessarily mean just interpreting text, but any other sorts of diagrams, graphs, etc. I think this is especially important in the sciences, where, like you mentioned, a lot of concepts are better presented as some sort of representation.