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Disciplinary Literacy

Factor Connections

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How Disciplinary Literacy connects to...

Disciplinary Literacy involves being able to communicate within different discourses and contexts. This includes writing, speaking, listening to, and presenting information related to different academic disciplines as well as real-world contexts such as finances and health. Understanding the conventions of different disciplines becomes more important for adults as they begin to develop expertise in a chosen field.

Main Ideas

Adults need to have a functional understanding of communication in a multitude of contexts, such as health and finances, in order to manage their everyday needs. Disciplinary Literacy is also important for adults in higher education settings, particularly when they are asked to analyze and create texts using the conventions of different academic subjects.

Disciplinary Literacy requires adults to understand topic-specific Vocabulary and concepts across a variety of contexts, including:

  • Financial literacy: Finances are a key component of adult life, and include managing bank accounts, paychecks, and savings. Depending on the individual, this can include understanding and managing investment portfolios and other savings products (i.e., 401ks, IRAs). Financial literacy also requires Numeracy skills.
  • Health literacy: Health literacy is an important part of Disciplinary Literacy, as there are links between these skills and overall health and management of specific diseases (e.g., diabetes). Adults who are able to navigate health care spaces and advocate for their needs experience overall greater health. Health literacy also includes understanding and managing health insurance.
  • Career, academic, and technical literacy: To be successful within these spaces, adults need to be able to communicate within the parameters of their field. This includes using specific academic vocabulary and phrases that apply directly to their subject matter.

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