I've been reviewing some of the work we do, some of the conversations we have about Common Core and College & Career Readiness. I know there's a lot of muck out there about Common Core and I know there are plenty of educators who are being very rigid as they try to implement Common Core. That saddens me because Common Core really is about freeing educators to use their professional judgment and be more creative in their classrooms, to teach more organically and individually, and to know their students and themselves well enough to know when and how to make the kinds of adjustments that need to be made so their kiddos can actually learn.
So that got me to thinking about a conversation we have with educators as we ask them to think about the qualities and characteristics of the college and career ready high school senior. The answers are somewhat typical:
- critical thinking skills
- good writing skills
- good speaking and listening skills
- time management
- technology skills
Anyway, we also ask about qualities and characteristics of the college and career ready 8th or 5th grader, and then of the kindergartner. Sometimes their eyes open a bit wide, but then they settle in with some confidence and shrug that the answers are the same. After all, we want to start developing those qualities and characteristics for that high school senior when they're in kindergarten.
In only one group did any educators talk about kindergarten kids using such words and phrases as these:
- sense of wonder
- sense of exploration
- unaware of what they can and cannot do
Perhaps as more teachers feel more confident to use their professional judgment and creativity they will be encouraged to invite their students to use their student creativity, to express that sense of wonder or exploration or discovery, and to poke at the perceived limits of their capabilities.