Scott McLeod has posted four big questions to ask about a lesson, unit, or activity. Here’s the third one:

C. Authentic work. Did it allow students to be engaged with and/or make a contribution to the world outside the school walls. Did it really? [If not, why not? Our graduates need to be locally- and globally-active so that they can be positive citizens and contributors to both their community and the larger world.]

There doesn’t seem to be any point to this question unless we assume that studying isn’t inherently the authentic work of students (and why wouldn’t it be?). And that the study of music, art, literature, geography, history, language, math, and science isn’t engagement with the world (it is, isn’t it?). Or that contributions to the community within the school walls don’t count somehow (they do, don’t they?).


2 thoughts on “Authenticity

  1. Karen W Post author

    A few more (perhaps) related questions: how can we hope to encourage lifelong learning if much of the work of studying is deemed inauthentic? And why can’t teachers be an authentic audience for student work?

  2. Rick Langel

    I don’t understand the idea that all school work must be authentic and therefore contribute to the world outside the school walls. Studying history, doesn’t contribute, but it does help us understand how the world used to work. Learning geometry doesn’t contribute outside the school walls, but does get kids to learn mathematical concepts. So in that aspect, I agree with your comment that there isn’t any point to that question.

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