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Active Literacy Across the Curriculum Essay (Book Review)

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Updated: Nov 3rd, 2020

The Most Appealing Ideas

In Active Literacy Across the Curriculum, Heidi Hayes-Jacobs focuses specifically on the ways in which language is taught in modern American schools. Literacy is a vital aspect in education; as a result, the appropriate and effective teaching of the English language could boost a variety of skills and abilities required for the students’ further success in academic performance and life. In that way, one of the ideas that I find the most appealing is the author’s vision that every educator needs to become an active language teacher.

Hayes-Jacobs believes that teaching literacy required a collective effort of all the educational personnel. In other words, educators of all specializations could participate in language teaching. However, in order to achieve this kind of immersive literacy provision, educators would have to reevaluate and reshape their own professional roles and adjust their performance, strategies, and techniques in order to add the aspects of literacy teaching as some of the active practices.

Another idea that I found particularly interesting in this book is the author’s perspective on notetaking. Hayes-Jacobs views notetaking as an important and highly useful tool for learning. As a result, the author is convinced that notetaking needs to become a separate focus of educators among the skills and abilities they aim to develop in their students.

I fully agree with the author in this regard because notetaking strategies and habits of an individual usually signify his or her ways of reception and processing of new information, as well as the acquisition and retention of knowledge. In that way, the development of the skills of notetaking that are connected to the ability to isolate the most important pieces of information and build a flexible system of techniques helping to write them down and memorize is highly important. These skills could be used not only for the quick documentation of new information but also as the training for active listening and analytical thinking.

The Implications of the Ideas in the Book for Me as an Educator

The book by Hayes-Jacobs was written specifically for educators and intended to provide them with innovative methods and practices that would help improve their performance. The implication of the idea that all educators regardless of their specializations and disciplines need to become active language teachers is the need for the modern teachers to reassess their approaches to teaching and start making an emphasis on literacy. Moreover, since the author proposes that the aforementioned transformation needs to be integrated throughout the entire district or community, the implication is that educators of every school would need to engage in collaborative practices and exchange knowledge, experiences, and strategies with their colleagues and peers from other areas.

In addition, the author also expressed the idea about the importance of the literacy mapping – a process that would help educational authorities to keep track of the consistency with which literacy is taught in schools, as well as the methods and strategies used for this activity. Literacy mapping is needed in order for educational leaders and authorities to be able to monitor how well literacy is taught and whether or not it is overlooked as a part of a curriculum.

Also, the idea of mapping stands for the possibility that the performance of educators would be evaluated in terms of their inclusion of literacy concepts. In that way, this approach implies that in some cases, educators may have to introduce changes in their routines and adjust their performance in order to integrate literacy and language teaching in a more thorough manner.

The Ideas That I Challenge

The ideas expressed by Hayes-Jacobs in her book are rather valuable and relevant. In the contemporary world, literacy is an important concept that serves as the basis of a variety of vital skills for future professionals. Literacy represents a significant part of almost any working process and also is essential in personal and social lives of members of the general public. Consequently, the integration of literacy teaching in schools by means of adding some elements of literacy and language training into every discipline could be very beneficial for the learners.

At the same time, the idea that I would like to challenge is the reassessment of individual practices of teachers and the obligatory addition of literacy teaching elements in their programs and courses. As useful as this change could become, it also carries several potential challenges for educators. First of all, the processes of mapping and assessment stand for the educators’ need to fit in a new set of standards while they are still trying to adopt and incorporate all the other requirements and maintain a diverse curriculum simultaneously.

From the practical perspective, this change seems to produce much pressure on educators who are already overloaded with rules and requirements. In that way, in order to ensure that the change is successful, it is critical for educational leaders to adjust the literacy teaching strategies and add them as elements matching respective disciplines and fitting into various courses without overwhelming them and the professionals who teach them.

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