Wednesday, June 9, 2010

You might be learning authentically if...

flickr CC image via yonolatengo

It sounds a little strange to say that learning would be anything other than authentic. To assert otherwise would imply that learning is somehow counterfeit or imitative... but wait a minute; we need to contextualize if we're going anywhere with this.

Learning in its purest, most natural form is as close to automatic as a human response can get. It's our human nature to learn. We live; we learn.  It's arguable that the act of living, growing and developing new skills is synchronous with learning. We learn despite ourselves.

So if we're accepting that learning is a natural human tendency, we should also accept that schools, our institutions of learning, should reflect this tendency. But this is where it gets a bit dicey, and where I think defining the authenticity of school-based learning becomes an issue. Learning is natural, automatic even, in some regards... so how do we make it so in the context of how we teach and learn in schools?

Much debate surrounds traditional pedagogical practise, and I won't get into that here, but I will say that teachers as learners shouldn't be terribly concerned with traditional pedagogical structures. Today's teachers should display an orientation of perpetual improvement toward their practice... a constant striving to find more effective ways to teach. To me, that's how we emulate the natural forces of learning in human nature... constant striving to be better, healthier, smarter. This striving to develop and grow is the essence of authenticity in learning... a genuine search for meaning and relevance. If we get hung up on a pedagogical stream of consciousness that we feel is adequate and righteous, we risk becoming blind to potentially better, more effective ways to teach and learn. There is always something to improve upon, and engaging colleagues in the Twitter Universe is a great conduit for dialog about what teachers do.

I've been engaged in allot of Twitter #edchat lately surrounding the principles of authentic learning. Like so many other elements of formal, organized teaching and learning, defining authenticity in schools can be difficult- everyone has their own opinion of what authentic learning looks, sounds and feels like. Again, I would assert that a genuine search for meaning and relevance in what we teach and learn in schools is the context within which we should define authentic learning.

I want to diagnose authentic learning. To that end, here's a Foxworthyesque list of symptoms that I have come up with so far:
  • You might be learning authentically if school is exciting instead of stressful- a challenge, not a burden;
  • You might be learning authentically if you talk about school experiences rather than lessons;
  • You might be learning authentically if every answer leads to another question;  
  • You might be learning authentically if you let your grades take care of themselves- you're too busy learning;
  • You might be learning authentically if you feel an overwhelming urge to share what you know with others;  
  • You might be learning authentically if learning isn't like your 9-5 job;
  • You might be learning authentically if you're taking home homework that wasn't assigned.
Perhaps you'd like to add to my list... tweet me @graingered.

4 comments:

  1. Sean - your post brings tears to my eyes. Especially in light of the fights I've been having with my daughter's so-called case manager; her guidance counselor, and the fight I will be having with the psychologist who heads up the sp. ed. committee next week. (Hence why I've been MIA for a while) According to your list the only time my daughter is learning authentically is when she is NOT in class. And the crap that has gone on this last quarter from the mounting peer pressure to the God like demands for conformity from her teachers (and I use the term loosely) I'm hard pressed for a reason to actually send to school for her sophomore year. She'd be better off both educationally and psychologically, as well as physically, if she spent the school hours at the track developing her racing skills surrounded by the people who really care about her and believe in her and whose authentic teaching bring about authentic learning about more than just racing.

    Every phone call and every e-mail I have gotten from "teachers" the last few weeks has been about what my daughter hasn't done. Yet when I ask what they are doing to ensure the homework gets done or to make sure she's learning the material to pass their tests I'm either met with stunned silence or no response at all (in the case of e-mail). So in my case the title of your list should be: Diagnosis of Authentic Teaching with the recurring theme "You know you're teaching authentically if your students are . . ."

    Namaste,
    Nicole

    ReplyDelete
  2. Excellent point... it'd be tough to learn authentically if one isn't being taught authentically. I'm going to ponder that for awhile... perhaps I'll make a sister post about authentic teaching.

    As always, much respect for your 'authentic' thinking... appreciate your honesty and passion-fight the good fight.
    Namaste,
    Sean

    ReplyDelete
  3. My only disagreement is with "...if learning isn't like your 9-5 job". Not everyone, but many are very active in their jobs, very engaged, doing and learning all the time. To me, informal learning on the job is perhaps the most authentic learning.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Yeah, I agree... the "9-5" part connotes those jobs that people do because they have to, not because they want to, or not ones that they enjoy doing. I love my job; I feel engaged doing it and learn something new everyday.

    ReplyDelete

Shelfari: Book reviews on your book blog

Labels

learning (49) teaching (45) education reform (29) authentic learning (24) students (23) effective teaching (18) school (18) EduKare (15) educational leadership (13) resiliency (13) creative teaching (11) education (11) educational change (11) perspective (11) 21st Century Learning (10) Glendale School (10) change (10) collaboration (10) school climate (10) school culture (10) support (10) creativity (9) assessment (8) caring (8) culture (8) leadership (8) teachers (8) hope (7) inquiry-based learning (7) learning circles (7) learning stories (7) professional development (7) student success (7) technology (7) technology integration (7) #edchat (6) at-risk kids (6) collaborative teaching (6) empathy (6) pre-service teachers (6) purpose (6) responsive teaching (6) #EduKare (5) Alberta Education (5) Sean Grainger (5) Twitter (5) at-risk (5) engaging (5) integrative thinking (5) mentor teachers (5) public schools (5) teach (5) teacher training (5) Bell Curve (4) beliefs (4) belonging (4) bullying (4) children (4) diversity (4) empathy reboot (4) high-stakes testing (4) learn (4) possibility (4) relationships (4) resilience (4) school leadership (4) student (4) LCU (3) action research (3) child development (3) choice (3) classroom (3) communication (3) community (3) counseling (3) debate (3) dreams (3) duty to care (3) ed reform (3) educators (3) failure (3) fun (3) growboys (3) inclusion (3) inquiry (3) interculturalism (3) kids (3) life-long learning (3) mindfulness (3) nemetics (3) pedagogy (3) professionalism (3) reflection (3) thinking differently (3) transformational leadership (3) understanding (3) #cpchat (2) #ecosys (2) #redcamp13 (2) Bloom's Taxonomy (2) Control (2) Google (2) Innovative Voices in Education- Engaging Diverse Communities (2) Moore's Law (2) PD (2) alternative teaching (2) audience (2) balance (2) behavior (2) behaviorism (2) best educational practice (2) blogging (2) boys (2) bully (2) bully prevention (2) challenge (2) change agent (2) character (2) circles (2) classroom management (2) commitment (2) competition (2) connecting with kids (2) creative (2) development (2) dialog (2) digital technology (2) disagreement (2) edcamp (2) edkare (2) education change (2) effective classrooms (2) etmooc (2) facts (2) feelings (2) formative assessment (2) future (2) goals (2) groupthink (2) growth (2) hope wheel (2) ideas (2) independent thinking (2) interdependence (2) journey (2) listening (2) mastery (2) mindful (2) morphic resonance (2) multiculturalism (2) new teachers (2) opinions (2) opportunity (2) passion (2) personal learning network (2) phenomenological (2) philosophy (2) project-based learning (2) question (2) resilient (2) resolution (2) responsibility (2) self-esteem (2) self-organized learning environments (2) servant leadership (2) share (2) social-media (2) special education (2) standardized tests (2) struggling schools (2) success (2) sympathy (2) teacher (2) teacher welfare (2) trust (2) unconditional love (2) unconference (2) university (2) values (2) vision (2) voice (2) words (2) #LCU (1) #ccunesco2014 (1) #nemetics (1) #speakchat (1) 40 Developmental Assets (1) ATLE 2010 (1) Africa (1) Black Swan (1) Brokenleg (1) Calgary Science School (1) Circle of Courage (1) ConnectED (1) Curate (1) Daniel Durant (1) Dry Island Buffalo Jump (1) FBA (1) Fouth Way (1) Geoffrey Canada (1) Grow Boys (1) Howard Gardner (1) Impact (1) Instructional leadership (1) John Dewey (1) Kathryn Schultz (1) Lao Tzu (1) MIT (1) Michael Josefowicz (1) Nunavut (1) Occam;s |Razor (1) PBL (1) PLN (1) Phoebe Prince (1) Piaget (1) Red Deer (1) SBL (1) SOLE (1) Search Institute (1) Second Way (1) Shankardass (1) TED (1) Tao Teh Ching (1) Vygotsky (1) Wangler (1) aboriginal (1) accountability (1) achievement (1) action (1) actions (1) adversity (1) anger (1) answer (1) applied behavior (1) applied research (1) apprenticeship (1) aptitude (1) aquaintances (1) at risk (1) athletics (1) authentic (1) autonomy (1) badges (1) being wrong (1) believing (1) benchmark (1) blended learning (1) blog (1) borders (1) brain research (1) budget (1) business (1) cdnedchat (1) chaos (1) character education (1) charity (1) child-development (1) clarity (1) collaborate (1) communciation (1) communicate (1) conference (1) confidence (1) conflict (1) connect (1) consciousness (1) conversation (1) cooperation (1) coordinated children's services (1) critical thinking (1) curiosity (1) curriculum (1) democracy (1) destiny (1) developmental (1) differentiated learning (1) differentiation (1) digital citizen (1) digital immigrant (1) diigo (1) dissonance (1) dyslexia (1) education innovation (1) effort (1) emotions (1) enabling (1) endogenous (1) engaged (1) engagement (1) equity (1) ethics (1) evaluation (1) excellence (1) fail (1) faith (1) fate (1) fear (1) feedback (1) feminine (1) finding voice (1) focus (1) friends (1) gender differences (1) gender identity (1) global education (1) goal setting (1) governing body (1) happy (1) hardware (1) healthy (1) heuristic (1) high school (1) higher education (1) homework (1) honesty (1) hop (1) humility (1) iconoclastic (1) imagery (1) imagination (1) improbable (1) inclusive (1) inclusive education (1) indigenous knowledge (1) innovation (1) inspiration (1) instinctual (1) interdependent (1) internalize (1) internship (1) interpersonal (1) intuitive (1) knowledge (1) lacrosse (1) leading (1) leaps of faith (1) learning circle (1) learning disabilities (1) learning disorders (1) learning from place (1) learning goals (1) learning spaces (1) learning story (1) learning styles (1) learning tools (1) lecture (1) library (1) lifelong-learning (1) limits (1) literacy (1) lobby (1) management (1) masculine (1) math (1) medicine wheel (1) men (1) mentorship (1) micro-blogging (1) mindfullness (1) mission (1) mistakes (1) morals (1) motivation (1) navigate (1) negative reinforcement (1) network (1) networking (1) new year resolution (1) objective (1) open education (1) open-source (1) operant conditioning (1) outcomes (1) overcome (1) pass (1) patience (1) polarity (1) positive (1) positive reinforcement (1) positivity (1) positve dissonance (1) postmodern (1) poverty (1) power point (1) practice (1) pride (1) private logic (1) productivity (1) professional organization (1) progression (1) questioning. Socrates (1) rally (1) rationalization (1) rdcrd (1) rdpsd (1) re-frame (1) re-tool (1) reality (1) receive (1) reclaim (1) redcamp15 (1) relative (1) relevance (1) research (1) rest (1) revolution (1) ritual (1) routine (1) scholar (1) scholarship (1) sciences (1) scrutiny (1) self-determination (1) self-help (1) significance (1) silence (1) simple (1) sincerity (1) skate park (1) skateboard (1) smile (1) socialize (1) society (1) software (1) solution-focused (1) speaking (1) sport (1) standards-based learning (1) stories (1) strangers (1) strengths (1) stress (1) student engagement (1) sustainability (1) synergy (1) taking risk (1) talking (1) tangibility (1) targets (1) teaching. learning (1) textbooks (1) thinking skills (1) thought (1) thoughts (1) trans-species (1) transference (1) tribes (1) unconditioned response (1) unconditioned stimulus (1) universal (1) urban gardening (1) urban schools (1) victim (1) visceral (1) wellness (1) wisdom (1) work (1) work week (1) worksheets (1) writing (1)