Three GRU College of Education students recently presented their research at theInternational Literacy Association’s annual conference in St. Louis, Mo. The students – Adam Aldridge, Eriq Hearn and Alexis Wren – are all enrolled in the university’s I.M.A.T. program and two are PRESTIGE scholars.
The ILA, a global advocacy and membership organization of more than 300,000 literacy educators, researchers, and experts across 75 countries, is dedicated to empowering educators, inspiring students, and encouraging leaders with the resources they need to make literacy accessible for all. The conference hosted more than 300 sessions and more than 6,000 attendees.
The students’ conference presentation, titled “Integrating Science Readings into Secondary English and Literature Curriculum,” was developed with guidance from Dr. Rebecca Harper, professor of education, who taught two of the students in an independent study course called Critical Literacy. The presentation outlined ways in which English and Language Arts (ELA) teachers could introduce science and math concepts into their curricula.
“It’s all about using ELA standards, but working in science and math literature that teachers in the ELA classroom could use to teach literary standards,” Harper said. Harper was with the students, presenting her own session, titled, “Writing Rocks: Engaging strategies for all.”
The students identified works of literature that taught or reinforced science and math concepts, but were acceptable in the ELA classroom, as well. That way, students will see and discuss the concept in multiple places, but each teacher is still meeting their own curriculum standards.
“It’s a good cross-curricular piece to help teachers work as a team. They brought in books like Abraham Lincoln’s DNA and The Future of Life to show how you can use these novels and books instead of traditional ELA literature. So if they were working on a specific physics concept, they could work it in by assigning readings from the book The Physics of Superheroes,” Harper said.
The presentation garnered rave reviews from attendees, with an invitation from the National Science Teachers Association to present again at their annual conference, and they have all been approached by a school district in Florida that was at the conference recruiting new teachers. The students will next turn their presentation into a paper for publication in a research journal.
“I’m incredibly proud of them,” Harper said, and encouraged students interested in researching their ideas or presenting their work to do it. “Students have a lot of good ideas and great things to say that people in the field need to hear.”