Saturday, 9 April 2016

Authentic Learning


There are some things that we ask our learners to do over and over, so that they might improve. Each week we ask children to start a new piece of writing, 'moving on' from the work that they previously completed. Perhaps we put their best pieces on the wall, or bring out their books so that their parents may flick through when visiting.

http://www.teachertoolkit.me/2015/07/08/marking-and-feedback-by-teachertoolkit/
Is the teachers red pen an authentic audience?

I can see why children become frustrated with this system, when they are writing their tenth story of the term, going through the process as their previous work sits unread in their writing book or worse, crumpled in their tote trays. I have even seen children recycle their own pieces of work.

Of course, I understand that in order to improve in writing, children must write. It is the same with reading and maths.  I know that the intrinsically motivated child will continue to write until they see progress or feel like they have mastered a particular genre.  But can't we give them an authentic audience to watch them progress, a platform in which to celebrate their published work?

I know that my learners are far more likely to edit and perfect a piece of writing if they are told that it will be shared on their blogs. Many of my children ask to blog their work when the task is given to them; they want to know that they have an audience besides the teachers red pen. Yes, this feedback is important, but feedback can also be gathered from an online audience.

http://gbstofa2015.blogspot.co.nz/
Students work is shared on their class and individual blogs

Last week, I had the role of acting as a mentor to my school's Manaiakalani Ambassador, as he was a child from my class.  He had been asked to create a presentation about his learning, which he would present to visitors to the cluster. In the two weeks leading up to this presentation, my student put in extra effort to ensure that any work he did was of a high quality. In Maths classes that even only marginally related to his presentation, he pushed himself  to extend his thinking and expressed his findings through an algebraic equation: this was the first time he had done so, and I was left extremely impressed with his self-induced progress.

It was after this event that I truly began to consider the power of the share component of the learn, create, share cycle. It is clear that creating a piece of work becomes more meaningful when you are given an authentic audience - that it is actually seen, presented and even criticised. I believe I need to give my learners more opportunities to share their learning, be it through a digital platform like blogger or in front of our school or wider community.

4 comments:

  1. What a great read here Danni and very similar to my own post about the reluctance of learners to share if they do not have an awareness of their audience! Lets continue to share our ideas on this hurdle as I feel that we have a lot to gain from each others insights!

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    1. I was thinking the same Heath when I read your post! Despite the difference in age between our learners, we are facing the same challenge here. I agree, I think sharing our ideas will benefit us both.

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  2. I was fascinated to read the back story of Levi's engaging presentation last week. The strange thing is that I am sure all teachers 'rise to the occasion' when they have an audience, be it a student teacher in the class, a staff meeting presentation or ERO coming, and yet most miss making the connection that young people are motivated by an authentic audience.

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    1. It is interesting isn't it! Even knowing that our visitors would be interested in their blogs and the work that they were doing gave my students an extra incentive to buckle down and finish their work on time.

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