Almost Nauseous

From Chalkbeat, Patrick Wall writes:

Literature class didn’t always look like this.

Across the Achievement First network, reading classes were teacher-driven affairs where students were taught reading strategies but rarely dug into texts, the network’s co-CEO Dacia Toll told a group of charter school leaders at a workshop in March. After playing a video clip from a 2011 reading class, Toll admitted to the group that the old style of instruction “makes me almost nauseous to look at.”

So what's new?

Next year, Achievement First will adopt that curriculum for its early grades, and Public Prep will begin phasing in its own “knowledge-based” curriculum that is similar to Core Knowledge.

During English class, they are pushing student-led text conversations, such as the “hands-down discussion” in Solomon’s class (when students speak without being called on) or weekly literature seminars at some Uncommon schools.

In past classes, teachers might demonstrate a reading skill, and then students would practice it while reading individually. Now, teachers are being urged to have students spend more time analyzing, or “close reading,” challenging texts together as a class, said officials from a number of networks.

Achievement First’s Toll said she discussed the shift from skill to text-based lessons with Coleman recently, who told her the whole-class approach is more straightforward.

Read the whole thing here

I would add:

The Core Knowledge move is at least 50% a tribute to the blogging of Robert Pondiscio, which I think won a new wave of adherents to Hirsch among top charter leaders. 

And

One more layer/conflict from my recent chats with Dacia and with the folks from Uncommon: whether kids should get far more minutes of "the act of reading."  Dacia, Doug L, Ray of Match Next: yes.  Whether many No Excuses teachers and principals believe that, unclear and possibly: no. 

Inherently "much more act of reading during school (not assigned as homework)" means far less everything else (including potentially less analysis,  less student-based discussion, etc).