Throughout my teaching experience in the classroom, creating authentic learning opportunities to keep it real has been a philosophy or theme behind all my decisions. As I journeyed in my career and life, I discovered that integral to this is balance and wellbeing, not only for myself, but the students.
From my first teaching experience as an Indonesian teacher turning a classroom into a famous bargaining street full of stalls, to the creation of children running their own business here are just a few other examples of real authentic learning opportunities;
* children to be inventors each week in creating something to share at a ‘national conference’.
* classroom rainforest with live animals,
* building vegetable gardens, shade houses and chook pens,
* art and science interactive galleries,
* cooking food or making smoothies,
* Creating 3 D towns with lights,
* dressing up and acting in character of inspiring people,
* excursions practicing kindness, and gratitude,
*creating a relaxation centre in the classroom,
* various performances, dances and plays, songs and camps.
All have been created with ‘Keeping it real’ scenarios of authentic learning.
Keeping it real, is the space of where authentic learning really occurs. In the keep it real classroom context, children are being ‘real’ in scenarios they may encounter later in their life through playing in supported practice scenarios. As an educator I’ve always asked how can I bring authentic learning into the classroom? Creating space for integrated self- directed personal projects has been another way to keep it real in an authentic learning context.
A Keep it real classroom enhances the skills of negotiation, communication, resilience, persistence, boundary setting, inventiveness and creativity. Imaginations are stimulated as questions such as, what if you…? Have you thought of…? Continual decision making in evaluating what the next step would be is always occurring. Support is given though questions as they experience what it is like to be a life long learner. Learning about how they best create solutions, from failure and importantly practicing with awareness of themselves, the character traits they wish to develop (Positive Psychology) are part of a keep it real Classroom.
As an educator its my responsibility to those children in my care to provide a keep it real space for children to share their creations . Importantly too, to share it with the thought of how this could impact on the environment and benefit others. Being conscious of how this affects the driving force behind their wellbeing is also a major role.
To keep it real, also means looking after ourselves in creating balance to what is achievable in the journey of each child’s creation. The designing of environments of authentic learning for children, must include the teacher/parent/facilitator being their own authentic self and sharing how I manage that with students. For if I am not modelling my authentic expression of myself with keeping it real for me, how can I create a keep it real, authentic learning environment to support that with children? This sharing involves the narration and appropriate sharing of the things I have created, both the failures and successes. Keep it real, authentic learning also touches on the ability for adults to listen to their children’s truth, which can be another topic for discussion.
This authentic learning of keeping it real scenarios, enhance skills of self-awareness , self-responsibility, social – awareness and social responsibility. It has been one of the major elements in the motivation of developing and creating the ‘ Wise Kids Hero Quest’ a space where students can practice being their own authentic self, whilst applying tips and tools from the Wise kids Series of books to stay on their quest.
Weather a parent, teacher or student, what does keep it real mean to you? How does stepping into your authentic learning of something that you love give opportunities for your children to do the same too?
- Andrew Holt
Follow Andrew on Facebook, Andrew Holt Educator Author.