You may ask, "But wait a minute--where are the learners? Are there no children? No students?" These represent critical questions. In fact I would ask, Is it even possible to have a model of student learning that does not have learners represented? Can we call this a classroom model if the only one present is a man in a suit talking?
I want to say here that Mr. Coleman's thoughtful inquiry into the opening of the letter is interesting. I can imagine that we might have a lot to discuss. But I would be quick to also say that such a discussion about text should not be mistaken for teaching. There is no teaching when there are no students. Children collectively co-compose the class. They are not vessel upon which we pour 'correct' interpretations. They are the living impulse that along with the teacher make a collection of people into a class.
That's the quiet secret that is missing from so many of these reform schemes and standardization. Teaching and learning are human enterprises. Fallible as they are beautiful. Representation is essential.
Now there is an irony to Mr. Coleman's model lesson without students as he is showing all of us how to critically read Dr. King's impassioned letter from the Birmingham Jail. What's unfortunate is the significant disconnect between Mr. Coleman's model and his failure to recognize that without students he has no model. Representation is missing and isn't it ironic given the very text he is critically analyzing? Dr. King's message is largely about the responsibility we have (especially those sanctioned with power) to ensure the representation of all, especially those who may be cast as 'other'. This important understanding is not lived in the actions of Mr. Coleman. ...
I think here of the absence of actual student bodies in the model Common Core State Standard lesson and want to suggest that this should give us pause. This is not a simple oversight. This is a philosophical failing--a moral problem that extends well beyond the video lesson. It makes me ask, Would an actual teacher, regardless of competence, actually fail to recognize that one cannot have a class without students? Is this not the primary understanding that we carry with us when teach? The class cannot exist without the children, the teens, the you, the me.
There is a kind of naiveté permeating the Common Core support materials so far.
Kathleen Porter-Magee wrote a great blog post for English (and social studies) teachers.
I would say Porter-Magee has written a good post for people who can safely say they'll never have to teach English again. For all but the least experienced English teachers, the entire David Coleman initiated "Thou shalt not engage in pre-reading exercises" conversation she outlines just has to be infuriating.
Normally I'd assume that an initially subtle idea about teaching literacy had gotten garbled into a black and white proscription in the course of being transmitted down to teachers. In this case, he seems to be starting with the over-simplified absolute.
You can actually make a good argument that you don't have to know much of anything about actually teaching students to design "college and career ready standards," at least the end of high school targets. But why exactly should anyone care about Coleman's ideas about teaching?