Old Wine in New Skins Part 2

Yesterday I didn’t get to the point of the post. Perhaps today.

NGSS and Common Core are grounded in particular assumptions about learning. These assumptions include:
* All people can learn; learning is a characteristic of humans;
* People learn by integrating new knowledge into existing knowledge;
* Asking and seeking to answer questions results in deep learning;
* Formulating arguments and evaluating evidence is more important than knowing facts;
* People learn best when they use all their senses: sight, hearing, touch, movement;
* The public space of the classroom should be used to make students’ thinking explicit rather than for evaluation of correct answers.

These ground rules are in direct and persistent conflict with longstanding practices of schooling. Cultural practices are invisible and largely unconscious. That is their purpose: We don’t have to think about what we’re doing and can concentrate on solving problems and getting our work done.

The longstanding practices of schooling include:
* Learning is a moral issue, that is, “good” people learn what they are supposed to learn;
* People learn by memorizing, and a good learner gives evidence of learning on tests;
* The goal of learning is to the facts the culture has decided are important.
* Everyone is entitled to their own opinion;
* Learning in school is accomplished through reading, writing, listening, and doing math;
* The teacher uses the public space of the classroom to evaluate how students are doing; the unintended consequence is fostering competition.

The point is, because schools are organized according to the practices of the culture, new ideas based on different assumptions are not understood. In other words, changing procedures in schooling does not change the underlying world-view of those participating in it.

Therefore the introduction of NGSS and Common Core, when viewed as procedures, as described by Brandon (in yesterday’s post) are unlikely to result in any change in students’ learning, and will probably make it more difficult for them to learn.

more next week…

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