Full disclosure: David Coleman is my intellectual crush.  Maybe it’s that we are both classicists, maybe it’s a shared love of close reading. Whatever the reason, it’s only fair to start this post with that admission.  Now that’s it’s out in the open, on to Coleman and his ideas about education reform.

Coleman is the president of the College Board, founder of Student Achievement Partners, and a lead writer the Common Core State Standards (in fact he’s often referred to as the architect of the standards).  His ideas are often summarized in terms of the shifts outlined in the CCSS. For example more emphasis on informational text and writing from sources (Coleman explained this shift away from writing personal narratives by joking that no boss would say to an employee “Johnson, I need a market analysis by Friday, but before that I need a compelling account of your childhood.” This quote lit up the blogsphere with applause and critique.)

As I was thinking about this post, I researched and re-read Coleman’s thinking, and eventually I realized that the best way to understand the shifts Coleman is proposing is to hear him describe what a classroom could look like.  So take a few moments to watch this video and consider the questions below.

Video of David Coleman Describing Instruction 

Questions to consider:

  1. How is this instruction different than traditional literacy instruction? Is it new?
  2. To what extent would the instruction Coleman describes prepare students for the challenges of the 21st century?
  3. What principles guides the instruction that Coleman describes?