Article written by Dr. Rozlyn Linder

This is the official blog of Dr. Roz Linder, an academic, K-12 Language Arts Specialist, former elementary school teacher, high school journalism teacher, and all-around rabble rouser. I am interested in how we equip students to compete in a global community that grows increasingly flatter every millisecond and the practical application of communication pedagogy and Common Core standards.Situated at the intersection of cultural, racial, social, and digital literacy, my blog is all about fostering and supporting the recognition that we don’t teach in your grandad’s America and being happy about that. Let's stop telling students what to think or believe, but prepare students to think critically and often.

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13 Responses

  1. Caitlin
    Caitlin December 8, 2012 at 8:49 am | | Reply

    Once again- a well thought out and reasoned post. Giving me lots to think about!

  2. Christopher M.
    Christopher M. December 14, 2012 at 7:08 am | | Reply

    I was very pleased to find this site. I wanted to thank you for this great read!! I definitely appreciate every little bit of it and have you bookmarked your site to check out new stuff you post.

  3. Nicole Feledy
    Nicole Feledy December 16, 2012 at 5:05 am | | Reply

    Brilliant! As an English teacher from Australia I agree whole heartedly with what you’ve said. We can use stories, use literature, to build critical literacy, rather than simply expecting students to ‘love literature’ because someone told them they should. As English teachers, we need to place the tools (skills) of critical, creative and emotional literacy in our students hands. This empower them. It gives students an authentic voice.

    I too have found after encouraging students to consider the issues surrounding texts such as Lord of the Flies, To Kill a Mockingbird, Romeo and Juliet or even Macbeth, they are more willing to dive within the text to discover the nuances of language that convey attitudes. Instead of skimming the surface and complaining about studying something that was written ‘ages’ ago, they are able to draw parallels and discover more about themselves and the world in which they live.

    Thank you for sharing.

  4. Robin Johnston
    Robin Johnston December 16, 2012 at 1:59 pm | | Reply

    I am glad you are teaching analysis of text, and agree that critical thinking needs to be a part of how we approach literature–certainly makes it more interesting. I do not understand your use of “deconstruction” as the purpose of that analysis, or as synonymous with analysis, which it seems you are saying here? And I would disagree that approaching literature analytically is anything new for many of us teachers–even some of us who are veteran teachers (veteran teachers sure are getting stereotyped a lot these days). Most good teachers I know do motivate by asking questions, using previewing, etc., and always have. Glad you do too, and are reaching all kinds of students.

    1. Dr. Rozlyn Linder
      Dr. Rozlyn Linder December 18, 2012 at 11:14 am | | Reply

      Hi Robin,
      Thanks for your response. I use deconstruction for a few reasons. One is because of the link to writing. I visualize it as the ability to recognize the parts, how they have been organized in terms of form, purpose, and style, and I am hoping that will link to the construction of their own pieces. Analysis could and is most definitely an synonym. I think that deconstruction just works as a great term to evoke visualization of something put together piece by piece and taken apart. More a person choice versus a reclassification.

      I am so happy to see that analysis is what you have been doing! I think that for many veteran teachers that really is where they began. Unfortunately, it is not pervasive, regardless of teaching experience. I am hopeful to here that you do and teachers you know! I think you are where we all need to be–critically analyzing text. 🙂

  5. Tom Hoffman
    Tom Hoffman December 18, 2012 at 8:50 am | | Reply

    Why do you think that none of the range of reading standards address the question of the relative amount of each type of text, but instead the issue is relegated to a misleading paragraph in the introduction to the standards, which makes claims about what the standards “require” which are simply not backed up by the standards themselves?

    The clear textual evidence is that the Common Core standards have no specific requirements for literature/informational texts which are significantly different than the existing ELA state standards I’ve looked at. Essentially all of them call for both, none including the CC standards call for any specific ratio, nor do any other country’s standards, because such a requirement would be arbitrary and outside the scope of this type of standards.

    The amount of each type of reading should be determined by the amount needed for students to reach the learning goals, period. That’s why even the Common Core standards are actually written the way they are.

  6. Michael Paul Goldenberg
    Michael Paul Goldenberg December 18, 2012 at 9:36 am | | Reply

    Seriously, if you’re all about global competition, you’ve lost my ear before you start. Education and competition have as much to do with one another in essence as does peanut butter and a blow-torch.

    I read on Diane Ravitch’s blog that you are “tired” of uninformed criticism of the CCSI. I’m a mathematics educator, but I used to be an English teacher and have near-Ph.Ds in literature and mathematics education, from U of Florida and U of Michigan, respectively. I’m not impressed with either the literacy or math standards, but more importantly, I don’t like the entire project of CCSSI. Here is the response I just posted on Diane’s blog. Take it for what it’s worth:

    I think that claiming that SOME critics haven’t read the CCSSI is no defense against valid, point-by-point or even general but accurate criticism of those standards. And it isn’t a defense at all against criticism of the arguments proponents use to justify the standards in the first place, which is to say defense of the VERY IDEA of a national framework handed down from on high, for which the vast majority of educators and parents had no input. Note, too, that holding a few public sessions in DC, etc., is hardly proof of a mandate from the general populace. Most people had no idea these sessions were going on, and most of us who did had ZERO opportunity to take time off from work to fly halfway across the country at our own expense to protest or offer input.

    That aside, it was a completely democratic process. Just like Snyder’s recent end run on democracy in Michigan, and many other smooth operations being pulled locally and nationally. Which is to say, not in the least democratic.

    So frankly, I don’t care HOW tired CCSSI defenders are of hearing criticism. They’re going to hear it for a long time, first because there was little opportunity for criticism before these ‘standards’ had the force of law (and monetary bribery, high stakes testing, etc.) behind them. Second because there is much that deserves criticism in them (and any thoughtful person involved with their creation should WELCOME constant critical feedback on them. You know – the whole “living document” idea? And finally, because we have to live with these things despite the undeniable fact that there is ZERO research to support the idea that these standards are effective. I am 100% certain that at the 10 year mark from initial implementation, every criticism of US public education, valid or not, that has been raised prior to the CCSSI, will continue to be raised. That our kids’ “performance” on those holy international competitive exams will not live up to our fantasies of “USA #1!!!” and that the media, politicians, pundits, and profiteers will be calling for another utter revamping of the process, at huge cost to the public.

    Is that tiresome of me to say? Tough bananas, Ms. Linder.

    1. Dr. Rozlyn Linder
      Dr. Rozlyn Linder December 18, 2012 at 10:22 am | | Reply

      I appreciate your passion! I think your arguments and claims go way beyond and into a whole different set of issues than my reply to Dianne did.

      I am TIRED of uninformed rants. Criticism is another thing entirely, but writing posts about classics being omitted from curriculum when they are actually typed into the Common Core standards and appendices as a suggestions is a waste of time. I think we both agree that you want people to come to the table with their homework done so real discussions can happen. I don’t agree with your points, but I appreciate your passion and the well of knowledge that you are drawing from. Different well than mine, but a well none the less. Those tough bananas? They should make great smoothies.

      1. Jaylen
        Jaylen March 4, 2013 at 3:28 am | | Reply

        Great post with lots of really logical points!

    2. Kelli Franklin
      Kelli Franklin December 18, 2012 at 12:05 pm | | Reply

      Okay–this type of post is the problem. THE RANT from Michael above is fine and dandy–but REAL teachers still have to teach. HATE the Common Core if you want sir–but it is what is going on.

      I am with DR. LINDER–I am going to work to TEACH and make sure that I have sound instruction and not waste my time whining about some theoretical crap about this from people who don’t touch the lives of kids.

      The message I hear is FOCUS on what matters—instruction. Everything else is political baloney. I don’t care about that–I care about the kids I teach everyday.

  7. Carla Foundry
    Carla Foundry December 20, 2012 at 7:06 am | | Reply

    Nice article. I am a huge fan of your work and I’m always coming here to see what’s new. thanks.

  8. Lorna Floan
    Lorna Floan March 21, 2013 at 11:11 am | | Reply

    I love the efforts you have put in this, regards for all the great posts.

  9. Bethany Wiley
    Bethany Wiley March 26, 2013 at 8:37 am | | Reply

    Good write-up. I absolutely love this site. Keep it up!

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