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Thursday, February 26, 2009

Eliminate Rigor

The best definition of rigor I can find as it applies to education is "strict precision". I am trying to decide why of all of the words that we could have chosen to use as an adjective to describe the curriculum. Other denotations of the word rigor include harsh and inflexible, severity of life, a tremor caused by a chill, and a condition that makes life difficult. I am praying that when the buzzword committee of The Education Cabal were deliberating they were merely focusing on the strict precision definition.

Perhaps the English language is so limited in its lexicon that there just wasn't a word that sufficiently described what the committee was aiming for. Though this may be the case, I would still like to make a suggestion. Instead of academic rigor we should strive for academic (wait for it; wait for it).

One possible definition is unimpeded scope or opportunity for action. Granted that is pushing the connotation of play, but hey if Merriam-Webster says it, then it must be true. I think however that we could all agree that when we hear the word play we definitely think of the "spontaneous activity of children." Why not work with this spontaneity and make children spontaneous learners.
Good teachers do this anyway, but because of NCLB and our ridiculous obsession corporate and global economies we are forced to talk about education with words that bring forth images of stiffening corpses.
So abolish rigor. Abolish work. Abolish the animated corpse that has a stranglehold on education. Abolish homework. Establish homeplay. Abolish worksheets. Establish playsheets. Establish playbooks. Establish group play.
When a child says that their favorite part of school is recess they should be referring to American Lit., Algebra II, Chemistry, and World History.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Damning Evidence #9

In a recent discussion about the importance of one vote I told a student that in the Missouri Obama only lost by 200 votes.

He replied, "This is one state our of 52 others."

Damning Evidence Bonus Edition

In Media Studies students were analyzing newspaper articles for bias. One of the students picked an article about the Grammy Awards. In that same edition of the paper there was a picture of an Oscar announcing upcoming coverage.

The student cut out that picture to go along with her article.

I asked her why and she responded, "Don't they give out Oscars at the Grammys?"