Back in September of 2012, Thomas Armstrong wrote an article about the origins of the Common Core instructional approach and new standards. Turns out that the close reading strategy advocated by the Core’s primary developer David Coleman has its origins in something called New Criticism, an instructional strategy popular during the Cold War.
New Criticism’s style is highly intellectual and analytical. For some students it can be confusing, boring and/or stressful. Armstrong wisely inquires, why bring it back now? Also, as educator Diane Ravitch and many others have asked, what evidence is there that this particular teaching approach is so superior and effective that it should provide the core pedagogy of an entire nation’s curriculum, and that it will help prepare America’s children for the challenges of the 21st Century?
“New Criticism cautions the reader not to go beyond the text to consider, for example, the biography of the author, the social or historical period in which he/she was writing, or, for that matter, even one’s own personal…
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