Education Through Rigor

Teaching our students to be strong in the face of adversity…

 

Educators strive daily to create challenging learning experiences for students. They are trained to push themselves to develop rigorous lessons that move students further. They know that helping students stretch their boundaries in a healthy and meaningful way is one of the best ways to ensure they develop the skills that make will them successful. 

They also know that they are working with one of the most powerful tools that educators have available to them. Rigor challenges students, and when they are challenged they find themselves facing adversity. Teachers help them manage and overcome that adversity not just so they are successful in class, but because it is crucial to their success in life. 

The teachers who are most successful at this are the ones who teach the ability to overcome adversity as they would any other skill, allowing for practice and helping students see a simple truth – when they are facing adversity they are facing opportunity.

Students often allow adversity to manifest itself in them through their behavior. In their response, the student may demonstrate their frustration through a reluctance to keep working, stay on task or show where it is exactly that they are struggling. Teachers who recognize this and work with the student have an opportunity to model the skills that come along with a positive response to adversity. 

“The teachers who are most successful at this are the ones who teach the ability to overcome adversity as they would any other skill, allowing for practice and helping students see a simple truth – when they are facing adversity they are facing opportunity.”

Adversity can push a student down if they let it. But if they are taught some strategies to deal with it and work through it, they can learn to find strength in themselves that they did not realize was there before. That process can start by instilling in them the belief that there is always room to take a step forward. 

When they take that step and find firm ground they will start to be aware of the path in front of them, and with a little guidance they will become comfortable with the idea of looking up and seeing a path forward in front of them. 

Now they are feeling the early effects of empowerment, because overcoming adversity can be a liberating and confidence building event. As they continue down their newfound path, they know they have a teacher who is a trusted guide that will help them when they need it, but more importantly encourage them when they need to believe in themselves. 

Sources:

Hernandez-Martinez, P. & Williams, J. (2013). Against the Odds: Resilience in Mathematics Students in Transition

Moore, B. & Stanley S. (2010) Critical Thinking and Formative Assessments

 

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