Recently I read an Education Week article talking about the benefits of reading novels. Study: Novel Reading Generates Sustained Boost in Neural Connectivity While I am sure I have an opinion or two I could share about the article itself, there was a quote by Ariel Sacks included in the article that really got me thinking.
The Common Core standards for English Language Arts require more nonfiction than we’ve seen in the past, but this is across content areas, as [common-core authors] David Coleman and Susan Pimental clarified almost a year ago. This means we need to collaborate with content area teachers, not that we should stop teaching fiction!
Think about it for a minute, Sacks is essentially saying that core teachers need to take some more responsibility for teaching strategies related to informational texts so that language arts teachers in turn would have more time to teach fiction. This got me thinking. We talk about creating interdisciplinary units all the time and we talk about how core content courses are not an island unto themselves. So, how might standards in language arts be supported in other content areas? What if there were pieces or chunks of the language arts standards that would be better suited within the context of another subject area.
I immediately thought about research standards. I know in Texas at least, there are quite a few standards related to research in every grade level for language arts. Those just might be a better fit in science or social studies where they are constantly doing research projects. Or how about vocabulary standards? Every content has vocabulary they have to teach, right?
Obviously I’m not proposing that it just goes one way or that content courses should take half the work of a language arts class just so language arts could “have it easier.” I am sure there are science or social studies, math for that matter, standards that could be supported directly in a language arts classroom as well.
All I’m pondering is:
What if schools restructured the way they supported student mastery of the standards? Maybe everyone would find they have just a little more time for whatever it is that they find most important.
Photo Credit: Judy Ballweg | Published November 18, 2012