Reflective Inquiry and Pre-service Teachers’ Conceptions of Content Area Literacies

The authors report on the results of a reflective inquiry project implemented during the first five weeks of a 15-week course on content literacy methods for secondary pre-service teachers. The goal of the project was to disrupt taken for granted and commonplace assumptions about literacy processes, particularly in relationship to professional and ethical responsibilities to educate all students. A description and analysis of Literacy History Project (LHP) components provides the basis for addressing the resistance teacher candidates often express with respect to the relevancy of the content literacy methods course for their own practice as future middle and high school teachers. Through a reflective examination of their prior experiences and present day practices, the authors found that pre-service teachers participating in the LHP gained insights into their own literate identities, made connections between their literate practices and the those of adolescent literacy learners, and demonstrated more complex understandings of the content literacy methods course content as it relates to the literacy development of their future students.