Practical Literacy Matters: Teacher Confidence is Key

Publication Laura A. Santamaria, Marissa K. Taylor, Travis D. Park, Barrett L. Keene, and Elizabeth van der MandeleMay 2010

Literacy is clearly important to career and technical education (CTE) teachers, who strive to integrate these core academic and cognitive skills and knowledge into their classrooms. There is little question that we need to continually address literacy within CTE. Rather, the issue for many CTE teachers and administrators becomes how to effectively implement literacy strategies in the classroom for maximum impact.

Based on CTE teachers involved in a literacy study conducted by a research team at Cornell University through the National Research Center for Career and Technical Education (NRCCTE)1, evidence shows that teacher confidence is low regarding the integration of reading and reading strategies within CTE. CTE teachers are “not English teachers”2 and generally seem unsure regarding strategy use, reminding us that, “I’m not a reading teacher. I’m not a writing teacher.” Strategies and literacy frameworks are viewed as arising from the core academic areas rather than owned by the CTE community, leading to teacher reluctance (i.e., Barry, 2002; Bean, 1997; O’Brien, Stewart, and Moje, 1995). Bolstering teachers’ confidence with the use of literacy strategies in a CTE classroom is essential to effective integration.

Santamaria, L., Taylor, M., Park, T., Keene, B., & van der Mandele, L. (2010). Practical literacy matters: Teacher confidence is key. Techniques, 85(5), 45-47.

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