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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