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Regarding the new Common Core for English and Literature

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posted on Apr, 5 2015 @ 12:22 PM
Okay you guys, please hear me out.

I am a bibliophile. I greatly respect books because each one holds part of the authors' soul and essence.

Now, when I first heard that they'd be removing the focus from analysis of works, I was aghast.

But then I thought about it for a moment.

Okay, so you see, when I was being taught they were really big on trying to make kids think outside of the box. Problem was, most kids don't know how/can't do that. I could--and I love thinking that way. Same could be said for a minority of students.

The cold truth is that it must have been really frustrating and depressing for teachers to try to make kids who couldn't even distinguish between their, there, and they come up with abstract concepts about author's intent.

While evaluation of literature is incredibly important, I don't think that it should be the focus for the majority of students. Much more important is teaching them the English language.

You see, in my generation, it's really sickening but when someone uses a word incorrectly (like they, there, their), if someone tries to correct them (no matter how kindly), they (and everyone else) flip out and say oh well, we all know what he was trying to say. And I'm like no, no I don't know because that word doesn't mean anything close to that.

It's like they think everything's "all good" and have a really lax attitude on proper grammar. It is really annoying. Especially since I end up looking like a grammar nazi when I'm not and I'm just trying to help them out to remember for the future.

The reason why there's so much mixing up of words and using words incorrectly in my generation is because of the old common core. I actually think that the new common core will teach kids to not do these annoying things. That is more important to learn than how to analyze literature. Because if you don't even know the language well, how's analyzing going to help you at all? It isn't.

Not only that, you can actually see the pain on teachers' faces when they try to teach when they KNOW that everybody in the room besides one person is not going to understand what they're talking about. Because the majority only care about obvious things and don't think that the details matter.

I think that the new common core will alleviate much of that pain and frustration from the shoulders of teachers. Yes, they will always cater to an especially bright student--but for all of the other humdrum morons out there (that make up 99% of that teacher's overall teaching experience) the teacher can rest easy knowing that they actually probably got something through the kids' thick skulls. Even if it's just picking out grammar and doing weird rote things like that.

Anyone else get where I'm coming from?

posted on Apr, 5 2015 @ 12:33 PM
a reply to: rukia

There was a recent study that shows people think more rationally in their second language rather than their first, and that people are less prone to be credulous towards marketing and propaganda if that marketing and propaganda is expressed in their second language. This is likely because they have spent the time to understand the grammar and syntax of their second language, while their first was simply something more automatic, without the need to go into greater detail of the ins and outs of their first language. Without the understanding of the grammar, syntax and etymology of their original language, the emotional response is much greater than the rational response upon hearing or reading in their native language.

Education today does not teach much about the linguistic aspect of the native languages, and people are thus disarmed with that understanding when confronted with it. Grammar nazis are a valued commodity.

posted on Apr, 5 2015 @ 12:53 PM
a reply to: TheSubversiveOne

I see. I hadn't thought of it like that.

Admittedly, I have a natural affinity for being able to tell if something sounds "wrong" or if it sounds "right" or "good"--grammatically and linguistically-speaking. I was the one kid exempt from having to do the stupid verb exercises in AP English because I am able to figure out comma placement etc automatically because it seems obvious to me. I don't know how I know. I think it might be sort of like synesthesia but with words and tone and flow or something

Interestingly, spanish was technically my first language (my grandmother lived with us till I was 3 and her primary language was spanish)--because I said agua (water). But then I just went right into English. Is that what you were meaning by the first or second language?

It's funny but now that I think about it, I don't really think in words unless I try to. I mainly think in pictures, feelings, and sensations. So when I think in words it's usually logical because I have to try to think like that. Basically, when I think I'm just imagining.

Really, really interesting point. As you can see, you've made me think

posted on Apr, 5 2015 @ 12:57 PM
No, I think your wrong. First a serious question for you. Why are you not using thee, thou or thine in your post?
The answer, language ,speech is an on going evolutionary thing. In another answer to my question, you want todays children taught only your type of vocabulary, lock them in your language stasis box.
Language, along with district dialects evolve and nothing you or any government body can stop this process. A prime example is the Oxford English Dictionary people. They resisted for ages at trying to update with new words with different meaning and even they have had to come to the conclusion that they must keep adding new words to their dictionaries.
I've had this arguement, sorry, discusion with poeple trying to keep dead languages alive ie. celtic.
But when any language cannot naturally evolve with new words of their own they are a dead language line. An example, as an english speaker you understand a one word description like "computer". Easy isn't it! Now ask someone what computer is in celtic or french. It will either be computer with a letter added or as with the celtic speaker they make up a word that probably means "a box that makes words and numbers". They do this to justify that their language is alive and commonly used.
I think you are wrong and slightly pedantic in trying to keep the status quo. Speech and languages evolve.

posted on Apr, 5 2015 @ 01:25 PM
I think it sucks to put it bluntly.

I didn't actually enjoy English literature UNTIL I got to college and students were encouraged to think about and analyze the works on our own. Prior to that, most of my teachers TOLD us what we should be thinking about those works, what the themes and so forth were. Since I didn't always see those works in exactly those ways, I hated it. My own analysis was not encouraged or welcome in many of my middle or high school English classes.

Common Core just makes that all the more apparent.

How many kids who could learn to love reading and literature are going to wind up in my boat?

posted on Apr, 5 2015 @ 01:30 PM
Also, facility with the language and its grammar is a different issue.

Yes, you do learn about grammar and vocabulary by seeing exemplary texts and having facility with them, but your ability to analyze a text critically does not always hinge solely on your ability to recognize which homophone you need when you write or where comma placement is. In fact, comma placement can be highly subjective in certain circumstances depending on which instances we are talking about with commas being neither correct nor incorrect.

Larger and more precise vocabularies will help you dig down to discover precise author intent, but it still isn't always necessary to begin learning how to formulate critical thought and analysis of a text.

posted on Apr, 5 2015 @ 01:42 PM
I see your point, however, I think it is a cop-out to assume students can't do something. This is the problem with the education system today. They cater to the lowest common denominator instead of challenging students to become critical thinkers.

There are three tiers of classes at the local high school. One is for AP (advanced placement) and gifted. The next is for CP which is college prep. The final is 'general' which is for students that just need to graduate and move on to a trade.

I believe this three-tiered system is probably the right approach. It challenges students that need that challenge and supports graduation of the less academically inclined.

posted on Apr, 5 2015 @ 01:52 PM
a reply to: rukia

I feared CC totally. You can find posts on ATS where I am adamantly against it.

Especially since my grandson, who I raise, is high functioning Autistic.

In reality, so far, I have been impressed. Of course, we're still only in kindergarten.

But, believe me, the school is no longer a babysitter. There is quite a bit of homework that requires parent assistance.

posted on Apr, 5 2015 @ 01:53 PM
You should take some time to look up the Classical Curriculum method. It is gaining popularity again with both private schools and homeschools. Right now, it's mainly being done with Christian education, both nondenominational and Catholic, but it doesn't have to be religious at all. The underlying principles are essentially secular having come out of Greece.

By the time a student reaches his junior high years, he or she embarks on a program of formal logic study so that by the time he or she is in the high school years, a lot of study is done in discussion and debate format.

If students were unable to learn how to think and reason formally, this educational model would not have been so successful for so long.

posted on Apr, 5 2015 @ 02:07 PM

originally posted by: rukia
While evaluation of literature is incredibly important, I don't think that it should be the focus for the majority of students. Much more important is teaching them the English language.

I don't know about anyone else, but the focus of our kindergarten class is about 90% on reading and creative writing.

They have to create a story through illustration, then break it down into main subject, with a beginning, middle, and end.

Now they are focusing on capitalization and punctuation. Spelling and grammar is secondary at this point.

posted on Apr, 5 2015 @ 02:16 PM
I have had to teach the common core system to my children for the last year, due to the choice of school we have been using. My children are both in 3rd grade, and both have different learning styles.

For the Language arts portion of the cirriculum, there has been little in the way of actually showing mechanics, at the 3rd grade level. It focuses more on getting them to write paragraph type reports from the very start, using the limited vocabulary that is taught along side it. There is very short, unimpressive lessons on how to use grammar, but very little to show in the way of sentence structure, or sentence flow.

The other thing that bothers me about it is how they do not encourage or even attempt to teach creativity in the writing, it's all very bland writing subjects with no real meat and potatoes, so to speak.

One of the recent lessons, for third grade, was on note taking. But, not like college level notes, more like taking key sentences from a pre-written paper and writing them down on another sheet of paper.

Then there is the other lesson that followed that, writing a small report on one of the 50 states of your choice. There was no real lessons on HOW to find such information.

I've had to do a lot of extra side teaching to pull this stuff all together for the kids, but one of them is completely miserable with this, while the other child is doing okay in it.

And I won't even get into the hand-writing aspect of this either, it's deplorable.

As far as language as an evolving, living creature, yes, all language should evolve, but at the same time buzz words, and hip language fads, do not make a language. In fact, writing, as I learned it, was about being able to effectively, and concisely conveying your thoughts and feelings in such a manner that the reader should be able to feel and clearly see what you are trying to tell them through the written words.

The proper words, in the proper places, make all the difference in the world.

Take for instance a statement a family member made in a lawyer's office.

"You have no accolades or sodomy to the garage tools!". This is where proper vocabulary, is very important, because as vehement as this person was being, they were almost laughed out of the office by all who heard.

posted on Apr, 5 2015 @ 02:20 PM

originally posted by: rukia
And I'm like no, no I don't know because that word doesn't mean anything close to that.

It's like they think everything's "all good" and have a really lax attitude on proper grammar. It is really annoying. Especially since I end up looking like a grammar nazi when I'm not and I'm just trying to help them out to remember for the future.

While not trying to be pedantic and not the best at correct usage myself, I do believe that starting a sentence with "And I'm Like…" is going to get some comments….

Good Luck with your thread!

P.S. I do understand what you mean however as the post had to do with grammar and critical thinking I could not help myself.

posted on Apr, 5 2015 @ 02:23 PM
The biggest complaint I'm hearing from parents, so far, is how much they have to be involved in working with their child.

They complain if the school was doing its job, they wouldn't have to.

Me, on the other hand, looks for and downloads additional CC worksheets, readily available on the net.

posted on Apr, 5 2015 @ 03:46 PM
Some of my pet peeves are:

1) The mixing up of "there", "their", and "they're".
2) Confusing "then" with "than".
3) The non-word "irregardless".
4) Repetitive phrases such as "At this point in time". ("At this point" or "at this time" is sufficient. "At this point in time" is redundant.)

One of my favorite sayings (I've even used it as my signature for awhile) is:

Careless and sloppy writers are often careless and sloppy thinkers.

posted on Apr, 5 2015 @ 04:06 PM
Common Core = Catering to society's lowest common denominator.

posted on Apr, 5 2015 @ 04:15 PM

originally posted by: Enochstask
Common Core = Catering to society's lowest common denominator.

Do you have a kid in Common Core?

posted on Apr, 5 2015 @ 04:21 PM
a reply to: Annee
No, but you do.

posted on Apr, 5 2015 @ 05:36 PM
Whilst I know nothing about how English is taught in the US, I thought I'd throw my thoughts into this particular arena anyway.

I'm a former high school English teacher. I taught from Year 4 to Year 13 - 'A2' Level English Language (...and Media Studies too). I'm in the UK and things are very different here. Our students are taught to pass an exam. Now that exam does include analysis of language and I feel that's important.

Okay, first our munchkins do need to get to grips with the nuts and bolts of our beautiful language. That's easier said than done. It makes no sense. You try to learn a language like French or Spanish and, on the whole, you can rely on verb tables and rule to help you out. English? Forget it. It's insane. There are 'rules' but they're more like 'guidelines' and are often tossed aside. When one rule doesn't work for a stylistic reason the odds are someone's gonna just toss it aside and play with the words instead. English is flexible. Can anyone offer me an example of another language where a words can be played around with so much and have such ambiguity?

So the nuts and bolts - that comes best with learning sentence structure and we do try to do that in the UK. Not very successfully, I may add. My job these days involves teaching 'professional' letter writers how to write. I teach them how sentences are constructed. Simple sentences are punchy. Compound sentences add a little more yet they are still easy to follow. Complex sentences, whilst the name is scary, aren't that scary at all. See what I did there? Sad, ain't I? And that's another thing...semantics. I don't know about in other languages, but English experiences semantic shift at an incredible rate. Sad - now means a range of things. Gay - well let's move on from that one. Hopefully you get my point.

To get our youngsters really close to the language we need to try to instill a love for it. A real enjoyment which, in my view, can only be drawn from knowing how things are put together.

Let's take the opening of The Dark Tower series by Stephen King. 'The man in black fled into the desert and the gunslinger followed.' Pure simplicity. If someone cannot comment upon why that is and effective opening to a novel then they have been failed. I'm not judging anyone who can't - I'm just making a point.

Then we move onto poetry. Poetry is a truly beautiful thing - capable of moving the most hardened heart to tears. Subtle word and syntax choices can create tears, just by their relationship to one another and the impact they have. Let's take Mario Pettrucci as an example:

'...Tells me he

will teach me in his dreams -
will teach me to breathe if

I teach him how to fly. If
you go with Grandpa he

says - will you be able to
breathe? He says this and

his cheeks run wet and
he runs short of breath so

we sit once again to
teach each other how --

deep and slow. We are
flying I tell him. We are

breathing he replies.'

To deny anyone an opportunity to discover such works is wrong. Note taking? Great - if you can write well, that should be easy. Report writing? Wonderful - make it creative.

I always taught my students that creativity was king. To be creative you need to experience writing - in all of it's forms. Pull it apart and put it together again. Otherwise, they are only words: mundane and staid rather than exciting and full of vibrancy.

I'll be honest - I've kinda lost my own thread on this post. I guess what I'm getting is that I've the read the OP and the post following it but teaching kids about what the author's intent is - well, that's paramount. How else can you figure out what's going on? Is it to entertain you? If so, how do you know? Is it to inform you? If so, how do you know? These things are fundamentals. If I have to write something, in work, to persuade a stakeholder to do something, am I going to use rhetorical questions? Damned right I am. Am I going to use threes? Definitely. It would be ineffective, stylistically weak and, well, just kinda wrong not to.

Let's not make language a simple tool. Let's remember and feed to our children what it really is. It's mind blowing. It's pure power, in the right hands. It's laughter. It's tears. It's everything we are as a species. Let's not deprive our children of that.

Unstructured rant over.

edit on 5-4-2015 by cado angelus because: I'm not perfect...

edit on 5-4-2015 by cado angelus because: drafting rocks...

posted on Apr, 5 2015 @ 08:09 PM
a reply to: cado angelus

I really enjoyed reading your response, Cado!

Thank you

posted on Apr, 5 2015 @ 08:41 PM

originally posted by: Annee
The biggest complaint I'm hearing from parents, so far, is how much they have to be involved in working with their child.

They complain if the school was doing its job, they wouldn't have to.

Me, on the other hand, looks for and downloads additional CC worksheets, readily available on the net.

If you are basically having to teach your child, then why not just pull them and homeschool them?

And why are you having to fork over your tax dollars to a public school when you are doing to much of it yourself?

There is being involved in your child's education in a support role, and having to be your child's education. Don't you think you're crossing the line?

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