Learning a new way to teach New York's future

By Kelly McCarthy

Learning a new way to teach New York's future

October 11, 2013 Updated Oct 11, 2013 at 3:52 PM EDT

Binghamton, NY (WBNG Binghamton) How much do you know about the new teaching style being adapted by the state of New York? The Common Core Curriculum is already being phased into schools throughout the Southern Tier.

More schools around New York State are making the transition to teaching the Common Core curriculum which educators say is the best tool to get students more college and career ready.

Seton Catholic Central hosted the NYS education department's curriculum director on Friday to answer questions from teachers and faculty.

Mary Cahill said the state is phasing in the curriculum so it doesn't put students who are currently learning the old standard at a disadvantage.

"We can't have kids going to college and taking so many remedial classes that they're getting frustrated," Cahill said, "And they're not graduating, so at this point we really believe that the common core standards are the way and the vehicle to get our kids ready for that."

Teachers said the new style will take more time to prepare lessons the classroom, but in the classroom it's now the students making decisions.

"Then actually in the classroom time, the shift is going away from rote instruction which is memorization," said Seton Catholic English teacher Tina Corbin, "And moving toward trying to figure things out on their own, trying to find solutions if they haven't memorized a lot of material."

Corbin said some teachers were concerned that the new curriculum doesn't provide sample tests to use as a learning tool.

"Students really appreciate having a sample test to practice and study," Corbin said, "And that is no longer, we are no longer given an actual sample test we're just given sample questions, so I think the other issue is anxiety over that."

The state is really pushing their website EngageNY.org for teachers to use to become more acquainted with the lesson planning-styles as well as learning modules.

"They're concerned they might not be prepared, and that's what we're doing with EngageNY," Cahill said, "We're giving teachers resources so they can be prepared for the assessments and getting ready for Common Core."

Cahill said the concerns of Seton Catholic teachers are very common among other districts in New York State.

"Anytime we change standards and we've seen this in the past," Cahill said, "There's always an anxiety when we have new tests and they're not sure what they look like, there's an anxiety that comes with it, it's natural."

The website has a page dedicated to parents and how they can help familiarize with the new curriculum, because Cahill said this is a change that affects the whole family.

"I had a father that had a second-grader and he says, 'I don't know if I can help her," said Cahill, "So I had him go look at the modules, provided some resources for him, so he could have a better way of helping his child with the homework."