Right now, I am in a producing mindset. Although, I want my students to learn in fun, innovative ways, most of all, I want them to produce.
However, I want what they produce to be quality work. I was reading the following article last night, and it really hit home with me.
The article argued that young professionals do not know how to write well, or have the ability to develop arguments in their writing. They don’t know how to support what they are saying with textual evidence or research. The article blames colleges for not teaching proper writing skills. But, guess what? Colleges blame high schools. High schools blame middle schools. Middle schools blame elementary schools. Elementary schools blame parents. Blame. Blame. Blame.
This problem of illiteracy hits me to the core, because I feel strongly about all forms of communication whether it be speaking, listening, or writing. Strong speaking and writing skills are imperative for success in the workforce today. This awareness brings to mind the importance of the common core. Now, I know that I am new to teaching, and many educators debate on the relevance of the common core standards, but as someone who worked in the writing and communications field I believe the standards are right on the money. They are written to develop critical thinking in students, and hold them to a high standard.
So, what does this mean for my class? Well, it means we are getting down to business. Students are going to learn what it means to think critically. They are going to learn how to produce academic writing, and guess what… the word “you” is not used in academic writing. My students are going to learn how to research sources, determine a valid source from an invalid one, and learn how to back up their arguments with evidence. My students will learn the process of debate, and how to argue their points effectively in front of an audience of their peers. They will learn how to counter an argument from valid sources. They will learn poise, confidence, and proper grammar usage. I believe this is what the Common Core is meant to do, and this is what will create a quality student body and workforce in the future.
The worst thing that can happen is for our students to graduate high school with straight A’s only to land in a remedial English class their freshman year in college. We cannot let mediocrity reign. We cannot blame the students for their inabilities. We are here to teach them. The responsibility lies on us, despite whatever is going on in the student’s home, we have to do our best with what we are given.
It’s time to create champion learners, and leaders of tomorrow. It is time to produce results.