Rigor, Relevance and Relationships

I recently attended the 2012 Wisconsin School Leadership Academy and was fortunate to hear some great speakers that I will try to blog about in my next few posts (especially since I’ve been challenged to blog twice a week this summer –if you’re counting this is blog post #2 in the challenge).  If you’d like to check out the tweets from this Academy, you can check #2012WSLA on twitter. I tweeted from the @AWSALeaders1 account, so you won’t find too many tweets from me.

The first speaker we heard was Willard Daggett, known by many for speaking/writing about Rigor, Relevance and Relationships in education.  Here are some of my bullet point notes from his session:
  • Schools are improving, but we still have a gap of where students need to be in our changing world.
  • Teachers are on treadmills just trying to keep up and cover everything that might be on the test.
  • The 3 central challenges in education right now: Common Core State Standards, Next Generation Assessments, and Teacher Evaluations.
  • Rapidly improving schools have proactive leadership, and focused/sustained professional development.
  • Our state tests focus on lower level applications, but our students NEED higher level/real world applications (Rigor/Relevance).
  • Research on the most improving schools have found that many have eliminated department chair heads and have instead moved to interdisciplinary teams. You cannot get to higher level/real world applications one discipline at a time!
  • Building character/guiding principles (respect, responsibility, compassion, initiative, adaptability, perseverance, etc.) are still essential for our students.  Do you know anyone that truly lost a job due to a lack of academic skills? It was likely a lack of one of those character traits.
  • There is NO research that supports eliminating the arts (especially if it means more test prep).
I realize that these are not the best notes from his session (like I said, I was also busy tweeting!)  I must confess that I have heard Daggett’s name mentioned numerous times before, but didn’t hop on the bandwagon to read up on the new “Rigor/Relevance” buzz words, but now I’m racking up another amazon order for his books.  Daggett doesn’t speak to any sort of magic “be all/end all,” but rather speaks about common sense practices and the importance of making your curriculum rigorous (higher level thinking/applications) and relevant (real-life situations that make the learning important and applicable for students).

This Post Has 8 Comments

  1. @mr_brett_clark

    Thank you for sharing your notes with us! I would love to hear more about that third R, relationship. To me, that’s the most important one.

    1. Hoosier Teacher

      I agree with @mr_brett_clark. I wanted to hear more about the third R. In order for eduction to correct some issues, relationships need to be developed between several groups within the educational setting.

      For instance, the public and teacher’s relationships need strengthening. Students’ relationship with learning and teachers need to develop. Students’ relationships within collaborative group settings need strengthening. I’d keep going but I don’t want to create a post here.

  2. Stephen G. Barkley

    I hadn’t seen the Dagget comment before about HS departments. Quite interesting. In my my experience when I have worked with HS small learning communities we continually had conflicts with dept heads in a power struggle.

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