We are now seeing examples of people providing "professional development" in line with the Common Core.
Common Core has a strong emphasis on "close reading."
If you really want to see how perverse this can be, let me give you an example of such "professional development" where the person presenting is arguing that a text of less than 300 words will take several periods to read closely. It takes 48 minutes for her to discuss how to present the lesson(s).
The text is the Gettysburg Address.
If you can tolerate, here is the video:
If this is what the Common Core will be, then I want no part of it.
But teacherken, you tell me, you are talking about English Language Arts standards.
No I'm not.
Both examples I have given you are texts from American History that are also relevant for Government classes.
Both presentations are by people intimately involved with designing and presenting the Common Core.
Neither is a teacher, which is obvious.
And I find it amusing that she says "If this was a lesson...." demonstrating that she is NOT an English Language Arts person, since apparently she does not understand the use of the conditional subjunctive - it should be "If this were a lesson. . ."
And then there is this additional video:
For all the verbiage that Common Core is not telling us how to teach, in fact it is.
Its notion of "close reading" is only one possible way of viewing a text. And it is an approach that has the student reading the text out of context, reducing its value for understanding and serving as a window to understanding the time in which it was produced.
It is not how I would teach either text.
I'd like to think my track record as a successful teacher should stand for something.
The tests that will be based upon Common Core, and upon this kind of approach are not going to serve our students well.
And I cannot help but wonder whether the insistence upon "close reading" is to make it easier to machine grade student answers - the more words quoted directly from the text the higher the score? What about student ability to restate, to paraphrase, to summarize?
Yes, there is a value to closely examining a text.
But it is far from the only value of a text like either of those offered in the first two videos.
Do I really want to keep teaching if this is what is happening to my profession?
I am not the only one asking that question.