Why? Because we now know that frustration is the key to creativity. Brain Pickings' Maria Popova has made the idea accessible.
And creativity, especially creative questioning, is essential to learning (see previous post), which is essential to testing well, and which, hand-in-hand with collaborative problem-solving, will close the skills and learning gap.
Educating our children to have creative, problem-solving minds so that they will become creative, problem-solving college and career ready pre-adults, so that they will eventually lead a creative, problem-solving high-achieving nation, is the goal of the CCSS.
So it makes total sense to me that frustration is, cleverly and purposefully, at the very essence of the common core.
- Students will be frustrated in kindergarten because they can not reach the end-of-year literacy goals for emergent reading;
- Students of all ages will be frustrated by facing every day the fact that they are further behind those who are "ready";
- Students of all ages will be frustrated because they can not fluently read and demonstrate understanding of the grade-appropriate literary and information texts put before them in ELA, science and social studies;
- Students in grades above 2 will be frustrated because writing and re-writing and re-writing yet another persuasive or evidence-based essay is so damned boring;
- Students in all grades will be frustrated because reading, writing and thinking creatively about the really interesting stuff is not happening;
- Students in all grades will be frustrated because new mobile and digital tools are used to look for answers to essential questions that are essentially adult questions;
- Students of all ages will be frustrated by the pace and willy nilly disconnect at which units come and go;
- Students in all grades will be frustrated by highly choreographed group work;
- Teachers of all grades will be frustrated by managing all of the above without promised and necessary economic or leadership support, knowing that their evaluations hinge on student testing;
- Everyone in every school building will be frustrated by reading glowing articles about small test score increases elsewhere.
The problem is, we are at our most creative in the take-a-deep-breath-and-relax after frustration and failure phase. We are at our most creative when we have, as a result of frustration, made time for nothing else but being creative.
All we have to do is to make time during the educational day of every child to so that he can reap the benefits of all of that frustration. Recess, lunch, art classes, bathrooms with lounges and endless hall-passes to access high quality bubblers and social seating arrangements, large well-lit rooms equipped for creative construction and open-ended learning play (open early and late every day): Bring them on - support student creativity.
We have to make time during the day for every teacher to reap the benefits of all that frustration. Lunch, socialization breaks, bathrooms with lounges and access to high quality bottled water and social seating arrangements, large well-lit classrooms equipped for creative construction and open-ended exploration (staffed by others early and late every day): Bring them on - support teacher creativity.
So stop griping about the CCSS and focus instead on what has to happen to schools in order to make the standards work for all.