最近我读到一篇 article 从U.S. 新闻 & World Report on how students can better manage an academically 严格的 course load while maintaining a strong GPA. As those connected with education, kindergarten through higher ed, 严格 is a term used often. Independent schools frequently use it in their mission statements and marketing materials. Programs, teachers, and/or curricula regularly are described as either 严格的 or lacking thereof. There are countless studies and research articles touting the relevance and significance of 严格 in 21st Century teaching and learning.  
With all its popularity and favor, I find it worrisome that it is so often misunderstood. 当你查单词的时候 严格 在字典中,它被定义为: 
1.  严厉的意见、脾气或判断上的不灵活:严厉 
2.  不屈服或不灵活的性质:严格 
3.  生活的严峻性:简朴 
4.  严格精确:精确 
5.  僵化,僵化 
I believe that’s why so many people think 严格 in schools means more or harder work. 不幸的是, 当这样定义时, it is misunderstood and limited in its effectiveness in terms of teaching and learning.  
What I wish more people understood about true academic 严格 is that it’s all about the degree to which a student thinks about content. 这都是关于认知参与. 凯瑟琳Boudett, Director of the master’s program in Learning and Teaching at Harvard University notes, “严格会给学生带来认知负担, 迫使他们直面错误观念, 考虑位置, 把隐式和显式分开, and other critical thinking practices that distinguish shaky familiarity from true understanding.” 
There are a number of ways in which Renbrook Lower School teachers facilitate learning activities that provide their students opportunities to think critically. 一种方法是通过使用 深度和复杂性 图标. 这些图标最初是为有天赋的学生设计和使用的. 然而, teachers quickly determined that all students were capable of that type of 严格 (thinking) and they began using the methodology in whole class lessons. 他们看到了课堂话语和学习的巨大变化. The 深度和复杂性 图标 prompt students to investigate: the language of a discipline, details, 模式, 规则, 趋势, 悬而未决的问题, 道德, 以及内容的重要思想. Complex understanding is achieved in classrooms through lessons that have students investigating how topics change over time, 持有不同的观点, 以及主题如何与其他学科相联系. 
那么这在真正的小学教室里是怎样的呢? Let’s look at a Grade Three social studies unit on Westward Expansion as an example. Several mini-lessons are taught on the various aspects of 天定命运, 路易斯和克拉克探险队, 领土收购, 轨迹模拟, 以及印第安人的经历. 学生们 also have at their disposal a mini pop-up library of non-fiction books on those topics, 他们还会收到老师预先批准的特定网站链接. 学生们, 分成小组, are provided several depth and complexity 图标 and asked to respond either verbally or in writing. 例如, one group receives the icon that represents the language of the discipline-- they are responsible for defining the major terms within the unit, 历史学家会用“稀缺资源”这样的词, 商务, 天定命运, 同化, 和横贯大陆的. Another group may receive the icon for 规则—and they respond with thoughts regarding the laws, 社会规范, 西向扩张时期的政府. 最后, a third group receives the icon for 道德—and they debate and then identify the ethical problems that happened because of Westward Expansion. These 图标 help students think deeply about a topic, and they provide differentiation. 例如, 语言的学科学习活动, 尽管必要且重要, 是较低层次的思考任务(识别)而不是伦理, 学生需要使用高阶思维(评价)的地方.  
Another way teachers create 严格 in their lessons is by creating learning opportunities where students acquire foundational information and then move to actually using what they know about the content. 例如, 在二年级数学课上, students work in small groups to problem solve math stories such as planning for a baseball team’s picnic. 学生们 are required to make decisions about how much food is needed (servings), 他们选择的菜单要花多少钱, 最后, figure out what supplies would be needed for the players and coaches if each person eats two smores. 学生们需要理解这些数学故事, 坚持解决问题, 抽象的和定量的推理, 构建可行的论点, 并批判他人的推理. 我们的学生在用他们知道的加法, 减法, 乘法, 测量, 和现实世界中的钱, 严格的, 适用的任务.  
最后, another example of what the teachers do to infuse 严格 into the classroom can be understood by unpacking a Grade Four reading lesson. Small or whole group discussion is a way for the teacher and students to co-construct meaning from text. 如果讨论是基于话语的, 这意味着它不会通过预先决定发生, 老师已经知道答案的问题, but rather through questions and talk in response to the students’ own comprehension of the text and elaboration of their ideas. 例如,老师大声朗读一段 前台 作者:Kelly Yang, 然后用一个开放式的问题开始讨论,比如, “这是怎么回事?“我听了几份简要报告, 然后她通过询问来扩展讨论, “是的, 这就是作者所说的, 但是作者是什么意思呢?” That discourse-based follow-up question works to deepen student thinking, and it provides an opportunity for the rereading of text more closely to understand its underlying meaning. Students interrogate the text and then make text-based inferences based on their background knowledge of the world. Very powerful and rich class discussions occur in response to discourse-based teacher questioning. 
So, if Renbrook published a dictionary of academic terms, I would want 严格 to be defined as: 
1. 这是一个教会人们如何深入思考内容的过程 
2. a manner in which teachers probe and question to DEEPEN STUDENT UNDERSTANDING 
3. 合作的本质, 为学生提供辩论的机会, 批判, 共同解决问题 
4. engaging learning experiences that challenge students’ previous held beliefs and understandings in an effort to build more SOPHISTICATED INSIGHTS and KNOWLEDGE 
我还可以列举更多的描述符. Ultimately, I want people to understand that 严格 is about depth of thought, NOT amount of work. The Lower School teachers work to provide their students countless learning opportunities that support the development of critical thought. 我想老师, 南希·弗拉纳根, 说的最好, “It might be easier to define 严格 by noting what it is not: 严格 is not a synonym for ‘harder,这并不意味着把一年级的课程搬到幼儿园, 或者代数学到七年级. 严谨意味着更彻底、更深入地教授和学习事物.”