Early Literacy Learning in UBC’s Teacher Education Program

At UBC we are committed to introducing teacher candidates to a number of perspectives relating to how children develop as language learners. We know the importance of communication competencies in the redesigned curriculum, and we strive to support our teacher candidates in developing their future students’ abilities to impart and exchange information, to build experiences and ideas, to explore the world around them, and to understand and effectively engage in the use of digital media.

We engage our teacher candidates in co-construction of the knowledge, skills and attitudes they require to implement a language and literacy program appropriate to the needs of children in elementary classrooms who learn language and literacy at different rates and need differentiated instruction and support. Teacher candidates are introduced to theories of literacy development, a variety of approaches for teaching reading, writing, listening and speaking; building literacy in the content areas; assessing literacy abilities; organizing and managing the classroom for literacy instruction; and using technology for teaching and learning.

Some of the big ideas include:

  • an understanding of how children’s language and literacy develops,
  • the importance of context in this development,
  • the diverse roles and functions of language and literacy in children’s lives,
  • how language varies and implications for meeting the needs of children from diverse backgrounds,
  • the role of language in learning,
  • strategies to address the needs of individual children (e.g., small group, one-on-one instruction; use of a range of modalities, and more).

Our literacy courses are rooted in the belief that language, in all its richness of form and function, is the foundation from which effective literacy evolves. They are also tightly linked to candidates’ field experiences in schools. Teacher candidates learn that literacy is not just tied to reading and writing but, in fact, include multiliteracies and Indigenous ways of knowing.

Revisiting how we learned to read; in this case, memorizing Chinese characters

Revisiting how we learned to read; in this case, memorizing Chinese characters

 
Drama as a way of constructing meaning in literacy

Drama as a way of constructing meaning in literacy

 
Using technology in the forest as a tool to mediate place-based literacy learning

Using technology in the forest as a tool to mediate place-based literacy learning