Fostering Pedagogical Content Knowledge Through Co-teaching: A Multiliteracies Approach to Cultural Studies Curriculum Design


Recent scholarship in professional learning and curriculum inquiry suggests that educators’ understanding of pedagogical content knowledge leads to improved learning outcomes for students and professional growth for teachers. We hypothesize that a co-teaching model between a disciplinary expert and learning designer well-versed in multiliteracies theory and pedagogy offers unique affordances in the creation of cultural studies curriculum and construction of pedagogical content knowledge. Disciplinary experts, characterized by their mastery of the cognitive processes and social practices of their field, often struggle to recognize the very knowledge structures and schema that allow them to reason through complex problems in their domain. By engaging in a process of collaborative sensemaking with a learning designer, disciplinary experts can better recognize the patterns, structures, and threshold concepts of their field, and co-construct learning experiences that scaffold students’ disciplinary learning. Such approaches allow for meaningful disciplinary inquiry and the creation of points of entry into practitioners’ otherwise abstruse knowledge structures and discursive practices. The action-research undertaken during a three-week Italian Cultural Studies course provides insight into the respective strengths of the experts, as well as what is required of each co-teacher (and by extension, the student) to make sense of the content or learning experience in question. Moreover, it suggests such partnerships offer distinctive advantages in the fostering of the learning designer’s content knowledge, the disciplinary expert’s pedagogical knowledge, and the co-construction of pedagogical content knowledge that can inform future curriculum and instructional development within the discipline.


Trevor Aleo
Student, EdD in Learning Design and Leadership, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Illinois, United States

Niki Kiviat
World Language Faculty, Upper School, Greenwich Country Day School, CT, USA, Connecticut, United States


Presentation Type

Innovation Showcase


Pedagogy and Curriculum


Literacies, Cultural Studies, Multiliteracies, Pedagogy, Curriculum, Co-Teaching