Reconsidering Rigor in Schools

Mike Crowley, The Synapse, Apr 20, 2016
Commentary by Stephen Downes

I've never been a fan of so-called 'rigor' in schools. This article makes the case against nicely as it reviews Thom Markham's description of "a demand for more personalized learning, brain-friendly environments, less recall and more thoughtful application of knowledge, optimal conditions for eliciting intelligent behaviors, constructivist tools, and respectful, caring relationships that honor the learner." Moving away from 'rigor' doesn't mean lowering standards, it means changing them. "The core task of the modern world is not to prep students for standardized tests by delivering content... but to prepare them to judge the quality of information, generate new ideas, filter them through a net of critical analysis and reflection, and share and move the ideas through a design process to create a quality product, either as an idea or a material object."

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