Myth #4: Providing Support Means Lessening Rigor
In America, we believe in rugged individualism. We are to pull ourselves up by our bootstraps and do things on our own. . Working in teams or accepting help is often seen as a sign of weakness.
Supporting students so that they can learn at high levels is central to the definition of rigor. As teachers design lessons moving students toward more challenging work they must provide scaffolding to support them as they learn.
Ron Williamson, my co-author on my leadership books, asked teachers and parents about their experience with rigor. Both groups repeatedly told stories of how successful they were on rigorous tasks when they felt a high level of support, a safety net. Often people described tasks that were initially not successful. Only after additional time or effort did they experience success. In fact, many people said that they would not have been successful without strong support.
The same is true for students. They are motivated to do well when they value what they are doing and when they believe that they have a chance of success. The most successful classrooms and schools are those that build a culture of success, celebrate success, and create a success mentality.