Hiding in Plain Sight: Literacy Development Possibilities in Initial Teacher Education
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The development of literacy competencies among second-level school students has been highlighted, by the Programme for International Student Assessment as ‘vital to succeed in society’. Literacy competency development has become the remit of all teachers, in all disciplines and initial teacher education programmes have a responsibility to address this. This paper aims to explore the provisions made within one Irish Initial Teacher Education programme, for the development of teaching strategies to enable literacy competency development within the technical-subject classrooms at second level. It also explores the perspectives of its pre-service teachers on this topic. A mixed method case-study was conducted, collecting data through questionnaires, dialogic-discussion groups, focus-groups and interviews. A key finding was the challenge in defining ‘literacy’. This ambiguity left pre-service teachers and teacher-educators unsure of expectations in this regard and resulted in a missalignment between the theory being taught and pre-service teacher practice. Technical-subjects are unexpectedly rich in opportunities to develop literacy competency. However, only some pre-service teachers were recognising the potential for literacy development within these subjects. Further training is required to address the challenges highlighted in this paper and to equip pre-service teachers with the appropriate tools to meet the literacy demands of today’s technical-subject students.
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