Course Profile Page
STRATEGIES FOR DEVELOPING RIGOR IN COURSEWORK
This mini-course discusses strategies for developing rigorous course lessons for K-12 classrooms. The purpose of this course is to help school teachers equip themselves with pedagogical and instructional strategies to challenge their students in a way that is stimulating, non-threatening, effective and successful.
Traditional models of teaching for elementary and secondary schooling have primarily focused on the memorization of facts immediately followed by a summative assessment. Studies show that this method of teaching does not promote long-term retention of knowledge. Once the knowledge is used to complete the test, students easily forget content because they are seldom asked to recall it again (Brown et al., 2014). Some argue that memorization is essential for developing larger working memory capacities in students, so that as adults they have already built up the necessary thought processes for accessing knowledge in long-term memory (Willingham, 2011). Factual knowledge is a less valuable asset in today’s job market. If schools are indeed following this model then they are also less likely to support skills needed by employers. Skills such as the ability to communicate with many types of people or use technology effectively, or use critical thinking skills to solve problems on the job are important. A rigorous model of instruction changes how teachers teach, not course content.
THE NATURE OF WHAT IS TO BE LEARNED
Many different strategies exist for teachers to change how knowledge is learned in the classroom. Specifically, learners in this course will learn the Rigor/Relevance Framework to help them develop course objectives, instructional strategies, and assessments.
ABOUT THE LEARNERS
Elementary and Secondary school teachers of any discipline will be the primary learners of this course.
The instructional content in sequential for this course and will be divided between 3 units. The first unit will focus on revealing prior knowledge about rigor and building new knowledge about why rigor is important in the classroom. The second unit focuses on how to use the Rigor/Relevance Framework to structure curriculum. The third unit involves rewriting a collaborating to develop a new lesson using the knowledge gained from Units 1 and 2.
EXPLORE INSTRUCTIONAL PROBLEM/SOLUTION
The problem is that teachers may not realize that the structure of curriculum and lessons may not meet the needs of its student body. For example, teaching techniques like rote memorization is an institutionalized way of learning, meaning it has been this way for so long that teachers think ‘this is how it is.’ It doesn’t have to be and shouldn’t be! Rigor is one way of differentiating instruction. Collaboration reveals multiple perspectives that initiates revisionary processes.
ANALYSIS OF THE LEARNER AND CONTEXT
Elementary and Secondary school teachers of any discipline will be the primary learners of this course. Learners should already have knowledge of how to develop lessons and should be open to developing new structures for lessons. A teacher with experience will be able to transform previously developed lessons, where as a new teacher could start to develop lessons from the information in this lesson. The learners partaking in this course should approach this lesson with the attitude of support and open mindedness. The purpose of this course is to become better at developing rigorous courses, so showing support through constructive feedback will give greater results than being overly critical. Conversely, being receptive to feedback and suggestions that are different from how you teach can improve teaching ability and student learning. Teaching is a very personal act, so developing goals for improvement can help keep critiques focused.
-an understanding of group dynamics geared towards cooperation
-reliable internet connection
-knowledge of lesson structure
-college level literacy
-A minimum of 2-3 years of teaching experience would be ideal
This course is a hybrid of online course-work and face-to-face interactions between colleagues. Assignments will be completed online as well as off-line, as directed by the units.
LEARNERS TAKING THIS COURSE WILL BE ABLE TO
- Define rigor in an educational context after reading a series of informational texts
- Identify 21st century goals and themes in education and their possible impact on teachers and students
- Reflect on prescribed and personal reasons for a need in new pedagogical practices after examining a series of informative materials
- Practice creating goals using the R/R Framework
- Practice developing instructional strategies using the R/R Framework
- Practice creating assessments using the R/R Framework
- Critique the effectiveness of the R/R Framework using it
- Construct a unit plan with colleagues using the R/R Framework
- Reflect on different ways of making coursework more rigorous in relation to the learner's own discipline
BY THE END OF THIS MINI-COURSE, LEARNERS WILL BE ABLE TO
- Identify aspects of instruction in need of pedagogical change to promote rigor
- Correct and modify future lessons with effective techniques and strategies for developing lifelong learning in students
UNIT 1: IDENTIFYING THE CHARACTERISTICS OF RIGOR
1.1 Rigor: What it is and what it is not
1.2 Global Perspective - What does it mean to have a 21st Century education?
-Discussion: compare and contrast
UNIT 2: UNDERSTANDING THE RIGOR RELEVANCE FRAMEWORK
2.1 Creating Goals
2.2 Instructional Strategies
UNIT 3: An Iterative Process
3.1 Collaboration and Practice
REFERENCES AND RESOURCES
Brown, Peter C., Henry L. Roediger, and Mark A. McDaniel. Make it stick. Harvard University Press, 2014.
Larson, Miriam, and Barbara B. Lockee. Streamlined ID: A practical guide to instructional design. Routledge, 2014.
Maye, Dutchess. "Hitting the mark: Strategic planning for academic rigor." Delta Kappa Gamma Bulletin 79, no. 4 (2013): 29-36.
Pellegrino, James W. "Assessment as a positive influence on 21st century teaching and learning: A systems approach to progress." Psicología Educativa 20, no. 2 (2014): 65-77. Media:21st_Century_Assessment.pdf
Willingham, Daniel T. Why don't students like school?: A cognitive scientist answers questions about how the mind works and what it means for the classroom. John Wiley & Sons, 2009.