Reflections on Redefining Rigor from VYonkers

VYonkers had such a great reply to the Post about Tony Wagner's Redefining Rigor that I had to share what she said. I particularly love what she said about her son being allowed to come up with a “theory of war.”


I have been looking for something like this for a while. As an undergraduate business and communication teacher and a graduate education teacher, I have seen my role becoming even more critical over the last decade. I have had to teach all of these skills in my class as students do not come into school prepared with these skills.

I don't blame the teachers or students, but rather the policy makers who want to simplify and quantify learning. Like you, I have found international projects as ideal since the assumptions we are taught through our educational system (there is one way to do things–compare how math is done in China and the US; facts do not change–ask a European or Latin American how many continents there are) are blown out of the water when working/learning collaboratively across the borders.

To change, we will need to 1)change the educational policies, 2) change parent attitudes as to what should and should not be learned, 3) change teacher, administrator, and student attitudes towards “mistakes”, “errors”, and “not knowing” to make it a jumping off for learning rather than being part of the definition for “failure.”

Last year, my son shocked me when he came up with his “theory of war.” I didn't agree with him, and we had long discussions about it, but I knew he was in the right school when he would even think of coming up with his own theory. Of course, it also helps to have parents that will allow you to come up with those theories and discuss it and/or challenge it, rather than commenting, “that's crazy” or “that's nice, dear.”

Originally posted as a comment by VYonkers on Cool Cat Teacher Blog using Disqus.

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Vicki Davis

Vicki Davis

Vicki Davis is a full-time classroom teacher and IT Director in Georgia, USA. She is Mom of three, wife of one, and loves talking about the wise, transformational use of technology for teaching and doing good in the world. She hosts the 10 Minute Teacher Podcast which interviews teachers around the world about remarkable classroom practices to inspire and help teachers. Vicki focuses on what unites us -- a quest for truly remarkable life-changing teaching and learning. The goal of her work is to provide actionable, encouraging, relevant ideas for teachers that are grounded in the truth and shared with love. Vicki has been teaching since 2002 and blogging since 2005. Vicki has spoken around the world to inspire and help teachers reach their students. She is passionate about helping every child find purpose, passion, and meaning in life with a lifelong commitment to the joy and responsibility of learning. If you talk to Vicki for very long, she will encourage you to "Relate to Educate" or "innovate like a turtle" or to be "a remarkable teacher." She loves to talk to teachers who love their students and are trying to do their best. Twitter is her favorite place to share and she loves to make homemade sourdough bread and cinnamon rolls and enjoys running half marathons with her sisters. You can usually find her laughing with her students or digging into a book.

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