Austin Creek Educational Systems Professional Quality Educational Presentations and Consultation
  • Oct

    Rigor and Relevance

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    Rigor and Relevance

    These terms are found when discussing curriculum for the gifted.  How do they apply?  For the gifted, relevance must precede rigor.  When the task is relevant, rigor ensues.  Students learn what their purpose for learning is.  Restructuring the process presents the learning to students with tasks not only relevant, but also purposeful for the rigor required to complete the task. Eureka! (the aha!) is assured as students validate or invalidate their learning.

    • When curriculum is organized and developed according to a structure that integrates all levels of knowledge (mental elements), learning occurs.
    • When curriculum is structured on analysis, synthesis, and evaluation, rigor occurs.
    • When curriculum is structured on students’ interest, relevance occurs.
    • When knowledge within the curriculum is structured and realized, EURKEA! occurs.

6 responses to “Rigor and Relevance” RSS icon

  • I think this is related to our discussion today about the need to present gifted learners with the “big picture” so they get the relevance of what you are presenting. Once they buy into the material as relevant to their interests then rigor can occur. In a real sense all learners want to know the relevance of a lesson or assignment. “Why do I have to learn this?” might be their way of asking us for relevance. Clearly presenting relevance could be the hook that pulls learners into the lesson or assignment, especially gifted learners. “Because I’m the teacher and I said so” clearly does not establish relevance.

  • I agree, students need to see the big picture. When they see goal or understand the purpose, they do put in the effort.

  • I am happy to read about the importance of relevance over rigor when trying to create purposeful learning for Gifted and Talented students. When I was in high school over 10 years ago the classes offered for gifted students were considered the Honors classes. Unfortunately these classes had nothing to do with invoking creativity or task commitment. It was more geared to the bright students with above average abilities who were willing to work their butts off just to earn an A and get college credit. For many gifted students these types of classes are NOT appealing. (Why work harder? Why do more work on something I already understand?) The work offered was neither thought provoking nor exciting and it did not appeal to gifted students with interests outside of English or Math academia. As teachers are becoming more aware of what being gifted really means they can apply activities to their curriculum to meet these needs. Also, exposing the “non-gifted” to this type of thinking will only make them grow and think in ways that they normally wouldn’t do on their own. Maybe working more towards closing “the gap” without dumbing down the gifted.

  • We as teachers have to develop an instructional plan that will be challenging, enlightening, and intriguing to students of different abilities. At the same time, we have to maintain a sense of community within the classroom. Tailoring instruction in the regular classroom is essential to meet the unique needs of each and every student. For these students to thrive in the manner in which they are capable, a full service education must be provided. Also, the educational experiences need to be challenging and appropriate to their needs and levels.

  • Stephanie Trook

    I think so often as teachers we fail to give the “big picture” to students. If we would, they might experience EURKEA! at the beginning that would carry through to the end. Instead, we tend to just give them little tastes at a time. I would rather have the cupcake, instead of the flour and eggs to make it.

  • At our school, we are also making a concerted effort to adequately challenge our gifted students. Much of our efforts have been spent in “pulling along” those who struggle, so that our gifted students are not prepared to handle those challenges when they arise. If they had an appropriate level of rigor on a daily basis, they will be better equipped to handle life when things don’t just “come easily” to them.