I just read an encouraging article pertaining to the new Common Coress emphasis on nonfiction. Due to the Common Core’s emphasis on nonfiction, many schools’ curriculum has replaced classic novels with nonfiction. Many ELA teachers are complaining about these new standards and it has reached the authors of the Common Core. Their reply clears a lot of things up for ELA teachers. They note that this new emphasis of nonfiction is on only for ELA teachers, but applies across the board. What they essentially want is for other subjects, Math, History, Science, to have more readings. If these other subjects do start using assigning more readings, then ELA teachers need not replace any fictions.
What is interesting though is a teacher’s comment of how if the authors of the Common Cores wanted this to be clear, “why are those critical instructions buried in a footnote in a 60-plus page primer on the Common Core?” I found this question to be very intriguing. Why DID they hide such an important note? I wonder if it was really their intention, that other subjects assign readings, or if this was a kind of contingency note in case ELA teachers complain about this transition. Aside from history, and maybe science, I cannot think of many ways for Math and Science teachers to assign more readings. I guess one good way is to assign research and projects. I remember my high school physics teacher requiring us to to do a research paper on different scientific theories relating to physics. This was a way for students to read more nonfiction literature. But how do you keep track of this? What about lower grades who do not have to do research projects? How will nonfiction be introduced to them?
This knowledge requires a kind of interdisciplinary collaboration. In order to know whether or not other subjects are meeting the reading standards, ELA teachers probably have to meet with other subject teachers to discuss about reading material. While I love effective interdisciplinary collaboration, I can see issues that might arise. Who will be in charge and hold this meetings and make sure everyone is doing their part? Will it be the principle? The superintendent? Or maybe the ELA teachers? What if their are disagreements on who will increase their nonfiction reading load and who will not? I think in the end, the task of increasing their nonfiction intake falls on ELA teachers will probably. But knowing this, we can at least be a little at ease and our curriculum can be a little more flexible.