What Does Disciplinary Literacy Mean at IDEA? The Answer Might Surprise You

The word discipline has several definitions in the dictionary. One is “following the rules,” but that’s not the definition that factors into IDEA’s Organizational Priority of Disciplinary Literacy. It’s this one:  

A discipline is a branch of knowledge. 

Reading, writing, mathematics, science, social studies, and so many more—each are branches of knowledge that IDEA students study and work toward mastery. They do so by synthesizing information—including specialized vocabulary, text structures, and features—and they produce their own knowledge and conclusions and communicate them in a variety of ways, depending on the class.  

Our emphasis on Disciplinary Literacy means that our teachers and instructional staff never lose sight of the fact that speaking, writing, reading, and thinking not only happen in every discipline, but they are vital to success in it. Think of it this way: Disciplinary Literacy is the way mathematicians, historians, readers, writers, and scientists think, read, write, and speak. 📖✍️🧠

See Disciplinary Literacy in Action 

In the video below, you’ll hear from two teachers at IDEA Frontier Academy and College Preparatory, located in Brownsville, Texas, about why they enjoy and value teaching with the priority of Disciplinary Literacy in mind. (Notice in the video, IDEA students are expressing their learning through independent writing and student-led discussions.) 

The Chargers of IDEA Frontier are a great example of this priority in action! When our students can read and communicate orally and in writing, students learn what they are capable of, master grade-level content, and are college-ready. That is what Disciplinary Literacy is all about! 🎓

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