21st-century literacy teaching and learning require a rethinking of the way we do school. In an increasingly connected world where the demands of literacy transcend the ability to simply read and write, teachers cannot do this work alone. But creating change doesn’t mean overhauling the system – it means finding ways to value, retool, and utilize the expertise we have on hand.
Unless we build the capacity of the systems and structures that surround our classrooms, every effort made to implement an improvement is tinkering with the doorknobs and not really doing the remodeling we need to make things work better. The good news is, there are places where the conditions for literacy learning are being met. Research shows that strong literacy teaching and learning depends upon these conditions and they emerge in places that value:
- Literacy as everyone’s job
- Inquiry in teaching and learning
- Time for collaboration
- Authentic evidence of learning
- Shared leadership
How can we get these values to be shared by more schools?
Starting November 16, 2014 NCTE will launch a project at our Annual Convention designed to elevate examples of places where these values exist and conversation about how get them into places where they do not. Educators have a tremendous wealth of knowledge and expertise in this arena — it’s time to pay attention to that. We believe that the things that negatively affect what we do INSIDE our classrooms won’t get better unless we address the root causes of these struggles OUTSIDE our classrooms. That’s only going to happen when:
- We start shining a light on the role schools, districts, and communities can play in fostering the conditions for literacy learning, and
- Educators’ professional wisdom is respected.
Grab a button and spread the word.