Facebook on its Summit Learning Resources Site for K-12 English & Language Arts teachers is now promoting ready-made lesson plans for teaching Common Core standards. Sounds good, right? But many of the lesson plans are screwed up because so many of the Core standards are so inane. For instance, under “characterization” (how literary narrators use different methods for revealing a person’s habits, motives, effects on others, etc. in a story) the lesson plans follows the Core in making insane distinctions between “indirect” and “direct” characterization, with NO clear discussion of what this distinction is, much less why it’s important to know it.
I’ve checked the answers below that Facebook and the Core Curriculum claim to be “correct.” But: WHY are the lists of features in question 3 below examples of “direct” characterization, whereas the techniques listed in question 4—like showing us a character’s speech, actions, or thoughts—”indirect” rather than direct characterization? Why is presenting us with visual description DIRECT characterization, whereas giving us what a character does or says (or thinks!) INDIRECT??
The direct/indirect category distinction as presented below is nonsensical and poorly defined, yet it is then to be drilled into the students as the gospel truth. If a student raises a hand and says she or he doesn’t understand the whole system is set up to make the student feel dumb. And pity the poor teacher who has to explain the difference between direct and indirect using the examples given!
Who or what came up with this direct/indirect distinction, defined it this poorly, and then determined that it had to be taught in AP English classes across the country as part of students’ essential learning?
Judge for yourself using these examples, taken directly from the Summit Learning Core Curriculum site. The “•” marks the “correct” answer, according to Common Core.
Question 3: The process by which an author creates characterization through the explicit use of description adjectives, phrases, and epithets is known as . . .
• Direct characterization
Question 4: The process by which an author creates characterization through a character’s speech, actions, thoughts, physical appearance, and relationships with others is known as. . . .
• Indirect characterization
If you’re curious to see more examples of how tech platforms are accelerating rather than helping solve the crisis in education (due to the garbage in => garbage out effect), check out Facebook’s Language Arts Summit Learning models for yourself: https://www.summitlearning.org/guest/focusareas/6864