The goal of the new common core reform appears to be pushing for teachers to provide instruction that produces students who are twenty-first century work ready. This is no doubt a reasonable and necessary goal of education, and the idea behind the reform coincides with my overall goal to create students who can live successfully as adults. Fortunately, the new reform in education encourages and promotes successful adults in the work force.
I believe most teachers would agree that literacy lies at the heart of reaching these new educational reforms. Literacy education is also a concern because according to Susan R. Goldman (2012), “one-third of U.S. students do not achieve basic levels of reading competency by fourth grade (p.90).” This statement really hit home with me, because I am currently a fourth grade teacher. Wow! I have entrusted in my care, during a very important transitional year for students, literacy needs that change from learning to read to reading to learn (Goldman, p.91). Thus, it is critical as a teacher I am familiar with how to teacher reading to learn so that I am meeting the new standards of education.
Knowing that I have such a critical year for students becomes an overwhelming thought. The dilemma becomes how do I change my teaching so that I can meet the raising literacy bar of common core. Goldman (2012) points out that although bar is raising teacher training and readiness to meet this bar is lacking (p.91). Therefore, it is basically change your way of teaching or don’t meet educational reform.
However, past practices and lack of training for teachers are not helping to ensure students are meeting the new reform in education. I agree because it is so easy to tell yourself that what you are doing has been right and even easier to say you just don’t have the time to learn a new system. Yet, we know we must do something different in order to meet the new reform. Yet, only a small about of research has been conducted on how to address the literacy challenges due to the reform (Goldman p.90). So the challenge of meeting the common core reform becomes how do we do it so that the transition is smooth and easy. The answer lies in applying research based teaching strategies that will promote students who can perform at the new standards.
Research has proven that literacy education goes beyond the literacy period traditional held in the classroom. Goldberg (2012) reviewed three researched based methods to teaching literacy and argues that literacy should be taught in all disciplines. More recently, I have had common core training and have discovered the new approach to reaching all literacy strands is to incorporate literacy instruction in all content. However, even with this knowledge, I think as educators we struggle with teaching content and literacy concepts.
I really think the missing part of this educational reform is teacher preparedness.
Goldman, S. (2012). Adolscent Literacy: Learning and Understanding Content. Future of Children, 22(2), 89-116.