kitchen table math, the sequel: Is Common Core increasing direct instruction?

Friday, February 26, 2016

Is Common Core increasing direct instruction?

I don't know the answer to that question. I'm asking.

My new copy of Education Week has a front-page story titled "Will the Common Core Step Up Schools' Focus on Grammar?"

I find that interesting (I have yet to read) because I'd been wondering the same thing about direct instruction after seeing the graphics in Ed Week's story Kindergarten Today: Less Play, More Academics.

By the way, I have no particular position on Kindergarten on way or the other. In my day, Kindergarten was .... well, what was it? I remember sitting at tables with other children, going out to recess, and sitting on the rug to listen to show and tell. We didn't learn to read.

Siegfried Engelmann taught academic skills to pre-school children, which served them well, so I'm certainly not against direct instruction in academic skills at that age.

My point in posting is that this looks to me like a significant change in the direction I definitely want to see for first grade and up, and I wonder how real, and how widespread, this change is. My own district is all constructivism all the time now.


Anonymous said...

IIRC, Englemann's program for 3-4 year-olds had a 20" math module and a 20" reading module each day, so there was/is plenty of time for great read-alouds and other activities. The fact that it was effective has been ignored for decades because explicit instruction, especially of the very scripted variety (which E's program is) violates all the edworld's most cherished assumptions and theories

Anonymous said...

Direct instruction is a method of delivering specific pieces of curriculum. Common Core standards are descriptions of goals (what students should know/be able to do once the instruction is completed). In theory, direct instruction of various kinds (not just Direct Instruction, the well-defined instructional methods designed by Engelmann and others) can help schools attain those goals more efficiently (I happen to be a believer). But the Common Core standards themselves do not dictate instructional methods except by implication -- for example, it's pretty easy to imagine that in order for students to learn how to do close reading, they will have to actually do some close reading, and the teachers will have to do some lecture/demonstration to illustrate how it's done.

ChemProf said...

I think it depends. My anecdotal California information is that it is increasing constructivism, but with worksheets. So while they used to do a page of half a dozen math problems, now they do a page with one or two but have to draw a million pictures, at least in first/second grade. And worksheets don't necessarily mean direct instruction - it can mean hand out the worksheets and have the kids group work through them.

Barry Garelick said...

Agree with ChemProf. It's certainly the case for math and for San Luis Coastal USD where we live. The Superintendent is constructivist as his "personal philosophy" on the district's website states. And the District has adopted CPM (College Preparatory Math) which is discovery oriented, for grades 6-8 math, and algebra 1 and 2, and geometry.

Anonymous said...

Another anecdote in California -

I had never heard of constructivism prior to Common Core.

Now my kid gets to work in student-centered groups every day, for almost all subjects.