Workplace Literacy Activities In Literature
The activities described here were used with grade 12 students in a large southeast high school (1800-2000 students) located in one of the most rapidly growing areas in the country. The student population was from a low-middle to middle income suburban area with a rural tradition, and from low-income inner-city housing areas. They were college-prep students who usually began their studies at a junior college, tech-prep students, and lower achieving students who usually did not go directly on to school beyond high school.
All students responded to the literature they read by doing the workplace format reports, newsletters, proposals, and presentations explained below. The report and proposal were culminating activities for the literary pieces and used as an evaluation of students' understanding of the work and application of knowledge to life. To supplement instruction for the tech-prep and lower achieving students, commercially packaged workplace literacy materials (e.g., videos, workbooks, cassette tapes) were used to give scenarios, examples, and assignments to further teach workplace report writing.
Literature instruction included reading, reading aloud, group discussions, class discussions, lecture, etc., with the amount of teacher support varying from minimal with college-prep to increased facilitation for tech-prep and students with lower literacy achievement. College-prep students usually read the material independently prior to class or group discussions. With tech-prep classes, the teacher would read selections of the work to students, followed by their rereading the selections. The teacher also led discussions on analysis of author's purpose, literary elements, and images such as metaphors or symbolism. Mostly, the discussions concentrated on the themes, and how the themes related to students' lives.