Rigor and Relevance

Rigor and Relevance Defined

I believe that rigor and relevance are ideal components to every successful classroom. As a teacher, my main goal is to help students expand as individuals and reach their utmost potential. I also want to build strong relationships with my students. Using rigor in conjunction with relevance can help facilitate healthy relationships between myself and my students. Rigor is creating a challenging classroom environment where students are expected to reach their maximum potential. Lessons created with rigor have high standards that demand students to work their hardest, open their minds, and creatively think. Relevance is giving students information that has meaning. Students see the reason behind what they are learning and they see how it connects to their lives. The connection to each student as an individual keeps motivation and engagement levels high.

Useful Strategies

There are many strategies that I can implement that would greatly improve my instruction. One strategy I would use is asking higher order questions. So, instead of asking questions that fall into quadrant a like, “How would you define that in your own terms?”, I would use questions in quadrants b and d. Examples of questions would be, “How can you demonstrate that?” or “How could you teach that to others?”. These questions access the same information, but questions from quadrants b and d force students to think at a higher level. By centering my lessons around these questions, I can use this strategy to better my instruction and student learning. Choosing different higher order questions, allows me to direct the focus of a lessons to specific quadrants. The use of questions can also help increase and prompt rigor in my classroom. I would also try to implement using “D-Moments” in my daily lessons. So, incorporate moments into quadrant a, b, and c allowing for d quadrant learning to take place. One of these “D-moments” that I would use would be storytelling. As an english teacher, this would meet many common core standards while incorporating appropriate content and meeting quadrant d elements.

Implementation in the Classroom

At first glance it seems like a daunting task to implement rigor and relevance in my classroom. When looking deeper, the implementation is quite simple. Using many of the strategies I have learned, I intend to create lessons which embody all four quadrants. Many of my lessons already embody quadrant a. There are some elements of quadrant c as well. I need to focus more on quadrants b and d. These quadrants connect information to the real-world. So, my lessons need to be structured around real-world situations. When reading the Odyssey, I will have students do a project where they find instances of mythology in popular culture. This will show them that although this text is quite old, it’s impact on the world they currently live in is ongoing. Using this model of teaching can help better the education of all students. I think that rigor when paired with relevance can better me as a teacher and my teaching instruction.