Tuesday, July 3, 2012

The Return of Nonfiction Matters

I am grateful to SLJ for giving me the space to write a column -- Consider the Source (here's the latest: http://www.schoollibraryjournal.com/slj/home/894921-312/consider_the_source_americas_changing.html.csp) -- and for archiving the full 900+ run of Nonfiction Matters. You should find both at the SLJ site http://www.schoollibraryjournal.com/ But I notice that I miss the quick hit of writing about Common Core, and NF, and being out and about in the world. So here I plan to continue NFM here on its own erratic schedule.

Last Friday Sue Bartle and I met with some 50 librarians -- after school, on a summer's day -- to talk Common Core. Some of them had just been to another workshop and, sad to say, arrived cynical, discouraged, doubtful. But, as I explained, in my talk the one rule is "you must interrupt." That helped, because the problem with the previous event is that it was so scripted and so cookie-cutter. You must do X, you shouldn't do Y, follow these X steps, do not deviate from the path. That is not CC 101, it is CC turned into a Betty Crocker cake mix.

CC is training in thinking -- and critical reading -- so that young people begin to savor the pleasure of thought -- not just the skill, or duty, or training, but actual pleasure. Because, as Edward Teller said of Johnny von Neumann (both brilliant, complex, dark men) "if you enjoy thinking, your brain develops." That is the motto we ought to use for CC -- if you enjoy thinking, your brain develops. So let us give you people tools and opportunities to think, and to grow in thinking, so their brains develop.

1 comment:

  1. Great!
    Will there be an RSS feed for this blog?