Contrived and Enforced Relevancy: Podcast Episode 166

Nov 28, 2018 | Posted by the IEW Blog Team


In Podcast 164 Andrew Pudewa and Julie Walker began a discussion about the four forms of relevancy. In the first podcast on this topic, they focused on the highest form of relevancy, intrinsic relevancy. This type of relevancy is innate. It is something a child is born with. In the following podcast, they discussed the next form of relevancy, inspired relevancy. This is the type of relevancy that is generated because someone else inspires the desire in another person to learn something. In the latest and final podcast on the subject, Podcast 166, Andrew and Julie continue the conversation, this time focusing on the final two forms of relevancy—contrived and enforced relevancy.

All of us have at times had to learn something that was dry and boring. Just because it is so doesn’t mean that it isn’t worth learning. Multiplication facts are a good example. An astute teacher understands that this information is not inherently interesting and contrives to make it become so. How? Through the use of games. Games can make the learning fun and approachable. But be careful! In order to create games that will accomplish a learning goal, apply these rules:

  1. The game must be possible for the student to win, and

  2. if there is an economic reward involved, the game must have a potential gain AND a potential loss.

If there is only a perceived loss in the game, then the relevancy will have descended to the fourth and final form of relevancy—enforced relevancy. This is the least effective form of relevancy. A student translates this form as “I must learn this material or suffer.” For students who fear not being successful, oftentimes they will prefer to face punishment than failure. And if a student makes the attempt to learn, oftentimes it doesn’t stick.

To learn even more about these final forms of relevancy, check out the podcast. And if you are interested in adding a game to your teaching repertoire, take a look at Outmatched: Ancient History. It’s a game that’s fun to play and sure to help your students learn facts about the ancient world. Another game-like opportunity for learning can be found with Fix It! Grammar, where students hunt to find embedded grammar errors and correct them as they write their own copy of a continuing story. Additionally, you can learn even more about the four forms of relevancy by checking out Andrew Pudewa’s popular talk, “Teaching Boys and Other Children Who Would Rather Make Forts All Day.”

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