Sunday, January 27, 2013

Should Teachers Resist the Common Core Standards?

The EdWeek  blog is starting a discussion on whether or not teachers should resist teaching the common core standards here.  It is really interesting and features such researchers as Stephen Krashen, a fierce advocate of the necessity of what he calls "free voluntary reading."  He's my hero!

This is what I learned in 37 years of teaching high school English:

Many (perhaps most) students avoid assigned reading by reading internet summaries or just listening in class. 

Even when a student is not doing the assigned reading, just the fact that he has assigned reading hanging over his head will drive out all other reading.  So he's reading nothing.

I've done much interviewing of my students with advanced reading skills.  Without exception, they acquired those skills through wide, avid reading.  They hate comprehension and skill exercises and avoid them at all costs.

It seems to me that the unintended consequences of these language arts common core standards will be to drive kids away from pleasure reading.  And with the culture now awash in movies on demand and held held devices with video games, schools are the only place where most kids have a chance of falling in love with books.    

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