A much needed contribution to the debate over Common Core and the role of standardized testing as a tool for improving learning. He nails it time after time and even has some ideas for what else could have beenand still could be. Hurrah.
The current educational train wreck that is the Common Core State Standards has as its fundamental flaw an almost complete lack of science underpinning its design and its foundational policies. Instead, the creators of the Common Core built their edifice upon a combination of unicorn dreams and rainbows, pretty to look at but lacking in substance. In this volume author John Jensen posits another basic flaw in the Common Core, a lack of understanding in how learning becomes permanent in a student. Modern American public education practices the Learn and Lose It System, says Jensen, which the Common Core does nothing to remedy. Instead, Jensen argues that we need to instead create a learn it & retain it set of teaching principles in our classrooms, and he succinctly lays out just such a system of teaching precepts revolving around student motivation, how to discover student knowledge without resorting to soul-crushing high stakes tests and a universally effective learning method that any teacher can implement in his or her classroom. Being a long-time classroom teacher with a vast amount of classroom experience Jensen can talk the talk around these issues because he has walked the walk throughout his career. This is in stark contrast to the Common Corers, who only know how to talk. This short volume needs to be required reading for any classroom school teacher who wishes to mitigate the destructive impact the Common Core is having in American education. And I would recommend that the creators and proponents of the Common Core State Standards be required to read it, too, and then have to take and pass a high stakes test on its content. Then maybe some of the vast silliness surrounding the Common Core would be put to rest.
John Jensen’s prescription for how American students can be brought to fuller engagement, effort, mastery, and retention deserves a far broader audience than the title Rethinking Common Core will draw. Yes, the Common Core flaw that Jensen identifies is real, and the “missing piece” he proposes is so intuitively convincing (and at almost no cost!) that I marveled that I hadn’t thought of it myself. It’s intuitively convincing because it resonates with a feature of the American mindset – the drive to perform masterfully before an audience and be applauded – that one can readily observe in any school playground. Jensen’s insights would be penetrating and applicable even if Common Core did not exist.Every thought-leader committed to the improvement of education in the U.S. would do well to read this book.
Looking at my own deep learning, it has always involved my own writing out and summarizing of the ideas. My best learning has involved explaining the concepts to others. Together, the writing and the explaining form the center of this approach.
John Jensen points out many key ideas about learning in his new book Rethinking Common Core. I especially liked when he mentioned that the teacher has to convey meaning and reaffirm the context. Jensen discusses concepts that help make sure genuine learning takes place.
The surprisingly broad and continuing discussions about the Common Core Standards are a bit surreal, suggesting that the main issue is getting agreement on what kids should know. This book takes a very different perspective by emphasizing that getting kids to know the things described in the Common Core is a much bigger issue than just declaring what the goals might be. This refreshing view should in fact be central to all of the discussions if we are to improve our schools John Jensen's crisp and astute writing touches on a wide range of important but under-discussed topics. This book not only recognizes that it is the lasting knowledge of students that will have long run impacts on our Nation but also tries to describe answers.
Jensen's Rethinking Common Core: The Missing Piece Sabotaging Its Success puts teachers squarely in the camp of ensuring learning, objective knowledge acquisition, and its most critical component, retention by students of all abilities. Whether it isCommon Core or learning under any other label, Jensen's model of Teaching-Writing-Boundary Key Points-Deepening for retaining crucial knowledge produces among the largest effect sizes in learning research. Moving from the self-system to the meta-cognitive system where student writing stimulates the reticular activating system (RAS) in the brain awakening the cerebral cortex, and finally to the cognitive-system, students learn to link key information to other ideas and prior learning. The result is increased meaning, understanding, and retention. Reciting their developed knowledge toa peer, to the class, and finally before parents, students receive important affirmation for their hard work in increasing their knowledge base. Teachers will thank Jensen for his well-articulated help with a missing component of Common Core and current education.
As a classroom teacher,I experienced, firsthand, the frustration and struggle most students face with the current conditions of Common Core. Havingtaught several grades of general education students and special education students through the years, the definitive statement in your writing is this...."One can understand only what one can remember".
The pacing of Common Core instruction and curriculum leaves little time for retentive learning. This book will be an asset to administrators and teachers, with practical solutions that change the focus away from standards and goals that produce mediocrity, thereby enhancing the learning experience for each student, within their developmental possibilities.