Some are calling it the “Common Core Twist.”
No, it’s not a new dance move.
It’s a new method of teaching under Common Core national education standards – called “critical thinking” – that critics say skips over the facts and details behind important historical events such as the framing of the Declaration of Independence.
An example of this technique was on display recently in a classroom in Modesto, California, in which America’s founding document was compared to a high-school break-up letter.
America’s story of breaking away from England was likened to that of two high-school sweethearts cutting the cord on their relationship.
“Instead of focusing on the actual wording of the Declaration of Independence, and encouraging students to delve into the concepts and reasons behind the decision to break with England, the lesson likens the country’s beginnings to a high school love affair,” writes Victor Skinner at EAGNews.org.
And, “that’s the Common Core twist,” according to a report on the classroom lesson in the Modesto Bee.
“The difference is, we used to tell them answers. Now they’re having to struggle, come up with their own answers. That’s the critical thinking,” Principal Deb Rowe told the Bee.
“It’s a return to a lot of things we were doing when I started teaching 22 years ago. It’s refreshing,” Zambo told the newspaper. “They were indoctrinated into: There is one right answer. This is history! There are many perspectives.”
Common Core advocates talk a lot about “critical thinking” or “deeper thinking” skills.
They are training teachers not to require any single right answer, whether it’s a math problem or a history lesson. What matters is how well the student defends his or her answer. In math, that theory manifested itself in the infamous “2 plus 2 equals 5″ stories that went viral on the Internet months ago.
The Common Core social studies standards have not been completed yet but are a work in progress. With early experiments now released in classrooms such as the one in Modesto, it appears the same critical thinking philosophy will be applied to the teaching of history.
Written by LEO HOHMANN
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