Rigor and Relevance

Rigor and Relevance

When you hear the word rigor, what do you think of? Is it something particularly hard or exhausting to accomplish? Does it always result in success?

When you hear the word relevance, what does it make you think about? Is it something that only pertains to a specific moment or period in time? Is it an individual thing, or does it apply to many people?

Let's put these two ideas into the context of how we might use them in our classrooms. We will begin by defining the words in relation to education.

Click on each word to see its definition.

(As "RIGOR" is clicked on)
The depth of the student's ability to understand content, or the quality of the content.

Notice, this definition is not only about quantity—just because a teacher assigns more work, it does not mean they are being more rigorous.

Rigor is about the ability of a teacher to stretch a student's ability and desire to learn a new skill, a new concept, or a new knowledge base. What is rigorous for one student may not be rigorous for an entire class. This does not mean it is ok to drop expectations to the lowest level. On the contrary, we need to raise expectations for all of our students.

(As "RELEVANCE" is clicked on)
The application of content to students' lives and society, or the purposefulness of the content.

Relevance is the answer to the Why question that students ask, either out loud or in their heads: "Why do we need to know this?" or "When am I ever going to need this?" These are questions every student uses to decide how much effort they are going to put into the lesson you designed for that particular day.

Click on the Next button to continue.

Last modified: Monday, 2 July 2012, 11:20 AM