Skip to main content

Join the Community

or Close

Search

The power of teaching (and speaking) in the present tense: My testimony in favor of Common Core

Last week, I was able to testify on behalf of the Common Core State Standards to the Colorado state senate committee on education, who convened to hear testimony for and against a bill written to pause implmentation.

I found out late last Thursday that my voice, along with other voices from CTQ Colorado teachers, parents, union leadership and concerned stakeholders, influenced the committee so much that the proposed bill was voted down by a four to three vote.

As a topic of much debate across the country, here are my remarks on how the Common Core (embedded into our state’s Colorado Academic Standards) have become a positive force for learning and growth in my classroom.

“I am here today to share some of my experiences with the Colorado Academic Standards, past and present, and to help you see how critical these standards are to the growth and success of all Colorado students.

I am here today to share some of my experiences with the Colorado Academic Standards, past and present, and to help you see how critical these standards are to the growth and success of all Colorado students.

I have been teaching for eleven years. I entered the profession around the same time that state standardized tests and the concept of standards driven instruction started to look similar to what it does today. When I started my first job, I was handed the old Colorado standards for English Language Arts, which comprised six focus areas and a laundry list of terms and ideas students were expected to recognize.

Very rarely in my early years of teaching did I feel like the old standards asked students to be critical thinkers or consumers of the world. This lack of student-centric instruction led to passive learning experiences for most of my kids. They only learned what I said was important and only learned it long enough to do well on their final assessments for that unit.

When I hear the argument that we need to return to the more simplistic and “better” instructional practices that existed prior to the implementation of the revised Colorado Academic Standards in 2010, I truly wonder how going back to passive learning will help our 21st century students be successful in the world that awaits them?

I own that my instructional practice as a teacher needed improvement in those early years. But my students and I also needed a higher bar to motivate us towards authentic thinking and learning.

Last year was the first official year of implementation for the new standards in my school. It took a lot of time, thinking and energy to realign our classes to these new standards, which on the whole are much more geared towards the teaching of practical skills and assessment of authentic learning targets.

At first I was trepidatious about the changes, but as my colleagues and I worked, we engaged in incredible collaboration about the best ways to teach and assess students.

The new standards have allowed us the opportunity to move away from lists of ideas and passive learning. Teachers and students now engage in much more authentic learning—learning that is geared towards real-world outcomes rather than rote tasks and memorization.

The new standards have allowed us the opportunity to move away from lists of ideas and passive learning. Teachers and students now engage in much more authentic learning—learning that is geared towards real-world outcomes rather than rote tasks and memorization.

My 10th grade students both this year and last are still reading, writing, researching and speaking.

Now, though, they are reading literature and non-fiction with the intention of building comprehension skills that can transfer to any literature or non-fiction text that they might come across in their future learning.

They are writing daily and are learning how to review their writing with a critical lens so that it can better achieve their rhetorical purpose and address their intended audiences.

They are speaking and listening every day not to earn points, but to grapple with complex ideas and to learn how to negotiate collaborative situations with purpose and grace.

They are researching and learning about things that interest them, learning how to create their own inquiry questions and how to review sources for accuracy and reliability.

In short, they are learning how to think for themselves and are being exposed to multiple opportunities to experiment with their thinking and skills so that they can be independent learners, workers and humans once they leave the K-12 system.

they are learning how to think for themselves and are being exposed to multiple opportunities to experiment with their thinking and skills so that they can be independent learners, workers and humans once they leave the K-12 system.

Just this week, for example, my students read an analyzed a series of primary source documents to build support for an in-class discussion about the costs and benefits of rapid societal change—something they will all experience within their lifetime.

A great deal of hard and valuable work has already gone into the implementation of the Colorado Academic Standards. More importantly, though students have a high academic bar placed before them and it is exciting to see them rise to the challenges we are putting forth.

I believe very strongly that it is our responsibility as stakeholders in the Colorado educational system to ensure that all students have a high quality education that is comparable to what students from across the country receive. We owe it to my students and all students in Colorado to make sure that each child is given ample opportunity to learn and apply skills necessary for whatever the 21st century has in store.

We owe it to my students and all students in Colorado to make sure that each child is given ample opportunity to learn and apply skills necessary for whatever the 21st century has in store.

Photo of J.Keigan, A. Sampish and Senator M. Johnston Taken by Lori Nazareno

 

5 Comments

japan comp commented on February 10, 2017 at 8:49am:

Respecting the time and

Respecting the time and exertion you put into your online journal and point by point data you offer!.. law firm search engine optimization

japan comp commented on February 20, 2017 at 4:47am:

Much obliged to you for

Much obliged to you for setting aside an ideal opportunity to distribute this data exceptionally helpful! Voyager en Arménie

japan comp commented on February 22, 2017 at 7:56am:

Hey, I discover perusing this

Hey, I discover perusing this article a delight. It is greatly useful and intriguing and all that much anticipating perusing a greater amount of your work.. high risk merchant solutions

japan comp commented on February 22, 2017 at 6:15am:

I am cheerful to discover

I am cheerful to discover this post Very valuable for me, as it contains parcel of data. I Always want to peruse The Quality and happy I discovered this thing in you post. Much obliged cognidepth best brain vitamins 

japan comp commented on February 23, 2017 at 3:18am:

It would be ideal if you let

It would be ideal if you let me know in case you're searching for an article essayist for your site. You have some truly incredible posts and I feel I would be a decent resource. On the off chance that you ever need to take a portion of the heap off, I'd totally love to compose some material for your website in return for a connection back to mine. It would be ideal if you send me an email if intrigued. Much obliged to you! chaturbate token hack xbox live account

Subscribe to Blogs by Jessica Keigan

Stay Informed

Sign up to receive the latest news and events through email!

Sign Up