Rigor in Academics

Rigor in academics means describes the result of work that challenges students’ thinking in new and interesting ways. Promoting rigor in the classroom requires expectations and experiences that are academically, intellectually, and personally challenging.

Let us see how to cultivate rigor in Academics

  1. Start by Building Strong Relationships

The relationships teachers have with students play a significant role in their investment in our classes. Students won’t work for teachers they don’t like. This doesn’t mean teachers need to try and be friends or “act cool” with students. However, it does mean students’ perception of their teacher matters. They need to know teachers believe in them.

Trust, respect, and relationships are paramount from lower grades to higher grades. Educators who build trust with their students will be able to push them further. If students know their teacher genuinely cares about their academic and personal success and is willing to work with them to meet their goals, they are more likely to take those extra steps.

In other words, students not only need high expectations, but they also need to believe they can reach them.

  1. Every Student is Different

Finding an effective way to challenge each student is key. To provide a rigorous experience, a teacher needs to seek out appropriate challenges. Students should be encouraged to compete with themselves, constantly striving to achieve higher skills and understanding.

The key here is to start small and build their skill sets slowly. The teacher must nourish little successes to build confidence. If students have little or no confidence, they certainly are not going to engage in rigorous material.

Differentiation is essential to ensure each student has personalized goals to strive toward.

  1. Provide Choice and Relevant Assignments

Students are more willing to challenge themselves when they engage in meaningful work. Students need to investigate issues they relate to, or practice art forms they find relevant and exciting. Students want their education to be something they can relate to, something that stimulates their passions, and something meaningful. To increase rigor, we have to assess our levels of relevance. Incorporating many layers of choice allows students to gravitate toward their own most inspired path.

Relevance can also be closely related to fun. Mixing up the ways students grapple with assignments and content challenges them to engage differently. Incorporate games with partners and in small groups. If students finish something early, provide exciting extra skill-building tasks.

Final Thoughts

Rigor is essential in school and life. Cultivating students’ desires to challenge and push their intellect and abilities is what leads to powerful learning experiences. There are no prescribed formulas for increasing rigor. Throwing extra steps in assignments, carelessly raising the level of difficulty, or pounding students with stacks of homework is not effective.

As a teacher, you have looked to develop rigor in your students, make sure you’re building relationships and providing relevant challenges they want to rise and meet.


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