How can we create classrooms where children historically positioned as “struggling” or “deficient” are able to participate fully and successfully? Teaching for Promise reports on a professional development research project where teachers were invited to think differently about “dis/ability.” In detailed case studies, the author demonstrates how teachers integrated multimodal literacies and a sociocultural understanding of disability to inform their teaching and help students meet or exceed expected academic standards. These cases will disrupt deficit perspectives of children with diverse cognitive, cultural, linguistic, and socioeconomic resources. They will also help elementary and middle school teachers meet the challenges posed by the Common Core State Standards that emphasize content-area literacies.
Kathleen M. Collins is an associate professor of language, culture, and society and co-director of the Center for Disability Studies in the College of Education at The Pennsylvania State University, University Park.