It’s no secret that Common Core State Standards have changed how teachers teach. For seasoned teachers, the largest challenge was in restructuring their practices and curricula to align with the new standards. In fact, many would say that for future educators who are currently preparing for their careers—perhaps those seeking an education degree that includes teacher licensure preparation—teaching within the boundaries of the Common Core State Standards might be simpler, as they’re trained in this approach from the start.
Whether you’ve been teaching for 20 years or are considering working toward certification by earning a BS in Elementary Education , there are certain philosophies behind the Common Core State Standards which, once embraced and implemented, can increase your effectiveness in the classroom, while leading to greater student achievement. Those with teaching jobs in elementary education should prepare for differences like the following:*
Teach deeper, not wider. You may cover fewer topics, but for those you do, dig into the details. Trust that learning will come from a deeper, fuller understanding of subject matter.
Nonfiction, not fiction. Literacy and reading will focus more on comprehension rather than the inferences you gain from a story. In the real world, students will need to be able to glean critical details from massive amounts of print and digital information in order to thrive.
Have them prove it. Students will need the ability to logically prove their claims and show supporting evidence. “Student interpretation” is no longer an acceptable answer; rather, students should be able to support their claims with facts.
Speaking and listening skills are key. Course curriculum will include these two skill sets, at all grade levels, helping to ensure students can communicate effectively in the real world. Educators focus on central themes such as preparing for discussions, listening respectfully, building on the conversations of others, and asking clarifying questions.
Integrated technology. Anyone with a degree in education will need to be comfortable with all types of online technology in order to support the Common Core State Standards. Students and educators will use a variety of devices including tablets and even smartphones to access the Internet, Google Docs, and online tools and software.
More rigorous learning. Students who succeed in the Common Core environment won’t just be preparing to pass tests; they’ll be required to transfer knowledge from one area of learning to another and show evidence of that learning. As an educator, you’ll need to incorporate less prompting, encourage students to be risk takers, develop deeper content for your lesson plans, and differentiate instruction to reach all levels.
Creating a learning environment that incorporates all of the essential elements of Common Core can be a challenge. By choosing to earn your BS in Elementary Education, you can position yourself with the knowledge and skills necessary to create a classroom environment that supports the social, emotional, and academic development of your students.
*Jacqui Murray, 7 Ways Common Core State Standards Will Change Your Classroom, Teach Hub, on the Internet at www.teachhub.com/7-ways-common-core-will-change-your-classroom.