In the Common Core Standards there are seven things used to describe what a college and career ready student will look like concerning reading, writing, speaking, listening, and language. I am rather impressed with these descriptions. These are amazing expectations for our students and it is well worth pushing them to achieve this level. One of the College and Career readiness descriptions states the follow:
They demonstrate independence:
Students can, without significant scaffolding, comprehend and evaluate complex texts across a range of types and disciplines, and they can construct effective arguments and convey intricate or multifaceted information. Likewise, students are able independently to discern a speaker’s key points, request clarification, and ask relevant questions. They build on others’ ideas, articulate their own ideas, and confirm they have been understood. Without prompting, they demonstrate command of standard English and acquire and use a wide-ranging vocabulary. More broadly, they become self-directed learners, effectively seeking out and using resources to assist them, including teachers, peers, and print and digital reference materials.
The face of education is changing daily. Information is available at the fingertips of our children. No longer do children need adults to stand before them and impart facts to them. Instead, we need to facilitate the learning of our students. Children are naturally curious. As humans we feel the need to understand the world around us. Putting these two traits together sets the perfect stage for learning. However, children get distracted easily. As teachers we must guide them in their learning. Ideally though, the teacher should be less and less involved as students become independent learners.
As a school, you should engage in discussions about what this should look like for your students. I can only imagine the student, or two, that might have just come to your mind because it’s impossible for you to imagine them doing anything independently. Although this may be true, setting goals and working toward this can help students become better prepared for college and a careers.
We must help our students become independent thinkers, capable of formulating their own ideas and opinions. This is what makes education successful; it’s what develops life long learners capable of making a difference in their world.