Let's Talk Standards
Craig Divis is a Social Studies teacher and Department Chair at Bellows Falls Union High School. He was named the 2010 Vermont Teacher of the Year and was also recognized as a 2011-2012 Fulbright Distinguished Teacher. Craig also works with the Governor's Institute on Asian Cultures.
The Common Core has influenced and will continue to influence my teaching in many ways. As a Social Studies teacher, it has confirmed the approach that I have always taken towards teaching by focusing more on skills than specific content-area facts and details. It has led me to re-examine the activities, assignments, and assessments that I use in my class to ensure that it is designed to build skills that students will need in “real world” once they graduate.
I focus more on building skills like critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and creativity now. While a specific assignment might still be related to a historical era or event, it is also specifically intended to help build skills around analyzing documents, comparing and contrasting, or making a persuasive argument. This approach allows me to help prepare students to succeed in college, career, and life. For example, while the concepts behind a specific historical event like the French Revolution are still important, I am now approaching it differently. Names and dates were never part of how I taught history, so these standards support that philosophy by stressing students understanding the broader context of the event and its impact today. The Common Core is meant to prepare students not to be historians, but to learn the skills necessary to be successful in any career that they choose to enter.
I see the Common Core as a positive development in education for students in Vermont and the U.S. Our students today will be competing for jobs that don’t even exist yet, and so it is our job as educators to prepare them with the skills necessary for any career they may enter. The Common Core will help our students be successful and competitive in our rapidly changing world.
Page Last Updated on July 8, 2014