Personally, I think "meaningfullness" is more important than relevance. Or perhaps I think that if something is meaningful at the time, it is therefore relevant. I don't think relevance has to be limited to meaning "will put cash in my pocket at some future date".
Students need time to make connections to what they are learning. When we finish teaching a topic, our students need time to think about the pros and cons, discuss the relevance, and make connections to other things in their life. We talk about having them engaged in their learning. Many times doing my teaching I have found that what we are teaching to our students lacks the personal relevance necessary for any meaning. It may be relevant to us as educators and we believe it should be relevant to the students but we have to give them time to talk with others, explore and enjoy the learning. We have to lead them to the relevance. This is why classroom discussions are so important.On Del.icio.us: blogging, teaching, meaning, relevance, students, schooling, education, pedagogy, LET06
I'd like to suggest that conversations on weblogs are ideal to help students discover relevance and make connections to what they are learning. Weblogs can be used to explain what they have learned in their own words. Then students have the opportunity to learn from comments from others. It gives the discussion a much wider circle. Too often our classroom discussions end up being dominated by the teacher and one or two verbal students.
I started this post the other day and discovered two great posts this morning that relate to this topic. Dean posted My Theory of Relativity. Be sure to read his entire post - good thinking and good conversations always emerge from Dean's blog. Then Darren responds with Habit of Mind. He talks about how each discipline facilitates a different habit of mind. The value is in the habit of mind that the learning facilitates.