A reader asks,
“SC, if a teacher has high engagement and high rigor, do instructional strategies matter as much?”
Great trick question! The answer is … It depends.
If it a typical classroom with typical students, high engagement and high rigor are typically the result of superior teacher practice. I would observe that teacher closely for a while in an attempt to determine what he or she is doing that is atypical. If I could identify that, then the practice(s) could be shared with the staff and disseminated throughout the school (frequent data based observations are good).
On the other hand, if it is a higher level class with motivated students (for example, an AP course) then strategies matter a lot. These students will perform even with sub-par instruction. In order to maximize their performance (as with any student) requires superior instruction. In fact, you should demand superior instruction in these classrooms due to the simple fact that these teachers generally do not have to devote time, energy and brain power on managing typical distracting student behaviors.
Just a reminder though, high rigor does not mean harder. High rigor means deeper and more complex. For example, “How is my answer to this question different from what you have previously been taught or believed? Based on your experience, which do you think is more valid and why? Finally, how will my answer impact your daily practice and in turn how will that impact your students?” Feel free to submit your answer to the blog (really).
Think. Work. Achieve.