Teaching teachers the Common Core, which is a set of state standards that measure students’ proficiency in mathematics and English language arts no matter where they attend school, is a high priority for education advocates. Implementation of Common Core standards is a relatively new initiative and somewhat of a paradigm shift as the majority of states adopt the standards that seek to put all the nation’s students on even playing fields upon their graduation from high schools. While most agree that the Common Core standards have been needed for a long time, making them a success rests largely on school teachers and principals. School administrators have the responsibility to equip and position their faculty to help their students meet and exceed Common Core standards. Although education advocates are working with universities to include common core topics within their K-12 education degree curricula, the typical training that future teachers receive come from third party, teacher preparation programs according to the Association of Public and Land Grant Universities. Here are some of the topics covered during typical training sessions.
Promoting Advanced Critical Thinking Skills
One of the goals of adopting Common Core standards is to better prepare students for college, careers and living in a fast paced, progressive society. Students need to develop critical thinking skills to be successful in the above mentioned areas. This represents a fundamental change to some primary and secondary school curricula that focus on knowledge acquisition for fundamental educational topics. While this knowledge is still needed to a certain extent, students need to know how to do more than look up facts and regurgitate them upon request. They need analytical skills that they can apply to all aspects of their lives. Some types of Common Core training give future teachers insight into ways of introducing complex, critical thinking concepts to their class rooms. Teachers generally promote the development of these skills through group role play, special projects and extensive problem solving exercises that are incorporated throughout their lesson plans.
Curricula Alignment to Concepts Within Common Core Standards
While Common Core standards give schools a framework for what to teach, they do not tell teachers how to instruct students. School principals are responsible for creating goals that align with Common Core standards, and teachers take those goals and develop classroom curricula and lesson plans. Certain Common Core training classes teach future teachers how to adapt curricula to get the most out of Common Core standards.
Implementing Formative Assessments
Formative assessments are used to gain valuable feedback that is used to continuously improve the learning experiences of students. Formative assessments generally evaluate the improved understanding of students to specific subject matter, and training for future teachers instruct them on how to develop a curriculum strategy that includes these assessments. Formative assessments can also give school principals insight into the level of instruction that students receive from their teachers.
Even with the modest amount of professional development training on Common Core standards, many teachers do not feel adequately prepared to fully implement Common Core and have their students take part in the associated examinations. They seem to understand that Common Core standards are just the chosen framework of educational objectives, but it is quality, innovative teaching that mainly inspires scholastic achievement. Teaching teachers the Common Core standards will likely remain a pressing educational topic because many teachers’ evaluations and career advancement opportunities are directly linked to how their students perform scholastically.