Graciously, Dave Burgess gave me permission to repost this blog: “Literacy isn’t the English teacher’s job; it’s everybody’s job.” This theory hit a nerve and resonated with me, I was compelled ask Dave if I could share this short but very powerful dissertation. I absolutely encourage everyone involved in educating our youth to put literacy at the forefront of everything they teach! Thank you, Dave for sharing this powerful piece, sorry you won't be at ISTE this year!
I’m sure you’ve all heard the following phrase many times in the educational world…and it must be said in an earnest tone with a completely serious face:
“Literacy isn’t the English teacher’s job; it’s everybody’s job.”
I actually agree wholeheartedly with this. However, I would like to promote a Teach like a PIRATE and add this Corollary to it:
That’s true for EVERY subject!
We need to take a far more holistic and cross-curricular approach to education and forever do away with the “that’s not my subject” mentality. It’s just as counter-productive and frustrating as the employee who says, “That’s not my job.”
Break down the silos! Think wide instead of narrow! Read wide, too!
It may be strange to hear me say it since I publish educational books, but we spend far too much time in the education aisle at the bookstore. Incorporating outside perspectives and ideas is a cornerstone of the TLAP philosophy. My background in rap, magic, coaching, entrepreneurship, marketing, and success literature played a foundational role in the development of Teach Like a Pirate. It was in large part about looking outside of education and drawing ideas in.
I just read a blog post from Teresa Gross about how much she gained from reading The Classroom Chef, which I have described as Teach Like a Pirate with all math examples. Here’s the thing…she doesn’t teach math. It didn’t matter. It was about creating powerful lessons and on a new way to think about our profession.
We have to take off the blinders and be willing to develop the peripheral vision of a great point guard. See the whole court! Make powerful connections!
Writing in a math class? Absolutely!
Math to help understand history? Yes, please!
Science across the whole curriculum? Yep!
Art and music (and technology for that matter!) are perfect examples of what I’m talking about. Art and music aren’t just the art and music teacher’s job. They aren’t just something we have kids do when they are over in “that” part of the building. Art and music, when embedded throughout the curriculum are a part of what brings school alive for kids. Creativity crosses all curricular content. It’s the rub, seasoning, and marinade that brings flavor to your lessons. It helps students process material in multiple ways which improves understanding and retention. The incorporation of art and music specifically, and a cross-curricular approach generally, is a big part of the Teach Like a Pirate system.
So while it is absolutely true that literacy isn’t just the English teacher’s job…let’s not stop there!!
Dave Burgess is the New York Times Best Selling author of Teach Like a Pirate and co-author of P is for Pirate. He is a highly sought-after keynote speaker well known for his outrageously energetic performance style and inspirational, yet practical, message. Dave is also the president of Dave Burgess Consulting, Inc., a disruptive publishing company specializing in innovative, creative books and professional development programs designed to transform education and uplift educators to reach their full potential.