We hear voices in the context of education and school reform today calling for “rigor and relevance,” yet how many of us have really stopped to analyze what is meant, implied, and required if “rigor” is a defining characteristic of our educational system? The synonyms for rigor are inflexibility, stringency, and cruelty. Rigor should NOT define our classrooms. Many people mistakenly associate rigor with high expectations. High expectations are important and needed, but not within a rigorous environment that does not encourage differentiation and flexiblity within classrooms. Learning is inherently a dynamical process, not isolated events that can be entirely centrally planned, and our educational language as well as policies should recognize this. We need to embrace differentiation, flexibility and high expectations for all students. To do this, we need to reject rigor.

Program Length: 24 min, 50 sec
File size: 5.8 MB

Podcast 31 August 2006(Click here to listen to this podcast) Show notes for this podcast include:

  1. Definitions of “rigor” from Dictionary.com and rigor mortis
  2. Dynamical Classrooms, Transparent Technology presentation notes from TCEA 2003
  3. Books and Articles by Stephen D Krashen
  4. More from Stephen Krashen on America’s fabricated literacy crisis
  5. Cell Growth (WikiPedia article)
  6. Schlechty Center for Leadership in School Reform
  7. “A Whole New Mind: Why Right Brainers Will Rule the Future” by Dan Pink
  8. Please provide feedback on this podcast as comments on the iTunes Podcast Directory!

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2 Responses to Podcast79: Reject Rigor: Embrace Differentiation, Flexibility, and High Expectations

  1. I rather like the word rigor. I always associate it with vigor, discipline and precision. I was surprised by the dictionary definitions that associate it with stiffness and death – rigormortis.

  2. […] This core message is, more than anything else, we need to PROVIDE MORE ACCESS TO TEXT for our young people (better libraries, open more hours of the day) and encourage more FVR: Free Voluntary Reading. Yes, teachers do need access to high-quality curriculum, but no evidence I have ever seen AND ACTUALLY BELIEVE or educational experience I’ve had suggests that a RIGOROUS curriculum pacing program like Voyager is what our kids need. If you’ve just fallen out of your seat at the suggestion that we don’t need RIGOROUS, heavy-handed educational interventions, give a listen to “Podcast79: Reject Rigor: Embrace Differentiation, Flexibility, and High Expectations.” […]

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