After some in-depth study of arts leadership at the Turnaround Arts Leadership Conference last week, a few things really stuck out for me: one being the idea of rigor versus vigor.
As a part of many advocacy pieces, teachers and administrators are told to tout the rigor of their arts programming. Ugh! The thought of a rigorous arts program sounds so painful. My brain goes right to rigor mortis! Rigor, to me and many other art teachers, signals the death of creative freedom. It means tests and data and static standards. All good things, in their own ways, but tricky to apply to the dynamics of a vibrant art classroom. The answer? We should exchange the word rigor for VIGOR! The arts add life! In a vigorous arts classroom, students are full of joy and delight while they delve deep into understanding and climb to the very top of Bloom’s revised pyramid. Rigor is stiff and mechanical, vigor is colorful and exciting! Let’s change the way we talk about the arts to truly reflect both its vitality and its value.
Tell us, how do you balance rigor and vigor in your classroom?
What does having a vigorous art classroom mean to you?