Teaching Across the Content Areas
Underlying the teaching profession is the commitment of teachers for the total intellectual development of the learner. The demands of the profession are so intense being entrusted with the burden of the educative process and learning of the young. The expected characteristics, attitudes, and behaviors are countless but a few maybe identified – reflective, assuring, committed, and full of enthusiasm that naturally radiates to the students in the classroom. Today, as researches and experimentations continue to avalanche on how to aggressively address learning competencies along with the fast pace of technology and science, another dimension in teaching strategies is highly recommended – doing one thing while accomplishing several skills acquisition.
Language and literature teachers must innovate ways on how to teach the subject across the content areas. Teachers who try out real world materials and real world experiences enrich the learning experiences of the students such as how they touch on the interests of the students. Any topic or task that is close to the heart of the students is a guarantee for a participative, totally and physically responsive, and meaningful thus, ensuring not only learning for the sake of learning but learning that are assuredly moved on to the long term memory usefully cultivating the communicative skills and in general, the oral language, of the students.
For this presentation it is highly suggested that the teaching strategy must follow the following sequence: (1) run an energizer (to motivate and rouse the students); (2) do a pre- activity such as brainstorming (by groups or at least two students which dwells on the upcoming lesson and more importantly, vocabulary development); (3) do the “during-activity” which is the lesson proper as presented in the given strategies in this discourse; (4) a post-activity that could be writing a literary piece; and (5) reflection to look back into the whole process and relate the entire activity to real life situations as much as possible.
“Teaching Study Skills: A Guide for Teachers” by Devine (1981) highly inspired the strategies presented and the innovative idea of a first-grade teacher, Cinda Korn (http://www.teachscape.com/tsp/web/orgpreview/oid/13948/asid/22367 has been very helpful as it provides as an eye-opener to innovate strategies in teaching across the content areas.
Reading Content Problem (Mathematics). One of the difficult areas of mathematics is word problems. A strategy towards problem solving would be to group the students into small groups like four in each. They are made to discuss the problem by (1) understanding the terms in the problem; (2) putting in relevant information; (3) find out what the problem is asking to be solved; and (4) to restate the problem in their own words. The teacher assists the students in creating a plan by (1) gathering information by analyzing both the givens in the problem and probably the clued solution; and (2) providing an analogous problem to help simplify the problem. Finally, they can reflect on the problem and the solution used. Students can also be encouraged to approach the problem differently to arrive at the same solution.
Reading Content Material (Science). The teaching of science employs the scientific method of inquiry going through the process of observing patterns. This can be encouraged by dwelling into the unknown using known information. In the process, enumeration and classification results into making generalizations. The process starts out by asking students (in groups) to list down characteristics, features, description, attributes, behavior, etc. of a particular item used in the science course. Next, from the characteristics, they are classified by looking at the relationships of the interrelated parts into the whole topic. Finally, a conclusion or a principle or a hypothesis results as a generalization. Through data collecting, hypothesizing, and testing the students are able to draw out general principles. It is expected that students are able later on to draw out comparisons (which a thing is like another) and contrasts (which a thing is unlike another). The whole process goes through a sequence where students are carefully advised to consider precision at all times because it is precision that makes science different from other studies. It is exciting for students to come to the learning skills of acquisition feeling that they can arrive at some principles emerging from the processes undertaken.
Reading Content Area (Literature). Developing the higher skills may be done through literary teaching to make learning more meaningful both in the literature class and in real life. The concepts in literature of plot, setting, and characterization can be elevated to gain the higher skills of reading comprehension and its processes, making inferences, and recognizing clues. The reading skills are used in the development of the plot through following the sequence of events, recognizing the rising of actions and the sources of the tension, and foreseeing coming events through clues. The setting is used as a testable skill in trying to determine the locale through clues giving way to its recognition as in time and place, the people and the imagined place. Characterization and attitudes can be deduced from the speeches and actions either directly from the character or from the other characters. The described strategy does not only measure the information derived from the piece but rather on the skills acquired such as critical thinking that they can apply in real life and other academic ventures.
Dramatizing or role-playing is an interesting strategy. Students are made to dramatize some situations that are related to the piece under study. Through role playing they are able to demonstrate their understanding of the lesson and enhanced in its portrayal. The drama enables the students to work together as a team, plan out their activity, and reaches a common consensus. Role playing fulfills cooperative teaching and participative decision-making.
Selecting Reading Materials. In mathematics, it pays to choose word problems where there are words that can be taken up for vocabulary. The importance of vocabulary development cannot be underscored in any discipline. According to Devine (1981) “The concepts and principles are approached only through the vocabulary, and the vocabulary words themselves often represent basic concepts and principles.” Sufficiency in language understanding unlocks the difficulties in mathematical word problems. In Science, the idea of teacher Cinda Korn inspires teachers to use real situations such as her “hatching chicks” which she brought to class for the students to observe, discuss, and make generalizations and later, successfully accomplishes vocabulary development, comprehension, and even writing poetry to mention one while fulfilling the honing of the students’ communicative skills in language. In Literature, any piece of prose or poetry that is appropriate to the grade level of the students will do well especially when they relate to human interests. When students are able to bring in their life into the classroom discussions, they become highly participative and motivated.
Devine, T. G. (1981) Teaching study skills: A guide for teachers. Allyn and Bacon, Inc. Massachusetts USA.
Teachscape.com Literacy Across the Curriculum: Integrating. Retrieved June 11, 2009 from http://www.teachscape.com/tsp/web/orgpreview/oid/13948/asid/22367