Authentic Learning

“How do you know your students were learning,” was asked to me in a formal observation by my one of my supervisors during one of my early years of teaching. My supervisor’s son happen to be in the same class so I turned the question around with “How about we ask some of my students how they knew learning was occurring?”

Needless to say, I received a daunting glance because I didn’t give the expected formal answer as a response. Instead, I wanted my students and their work to represent the learning that occurred. I was merely a jester or entertainer for their learning needs.

Oh times have changed


As I have continues to grow with my knowledge of how learning is displayed, I am constantly reminded by the toddler who cracked me in the head this morning with a Mickey Mouse tin lunch box. Often, we share books on colors and basic counting as words are beginning to form in a clear voice. However, I am constantly “disappointed” and pushing my her to speak and read books (maybe it’s more follow along with books) and sometimes get nowhere. She is constantly running away and exploring “other things” around the house.

Take that fuchsia and white colored potty on my bathroom floor. She is light years from actually using it, but is very curious on how it comes apart and goes back together. Along with these pieces of the potty, there is never an actual structure to the naked eye, but some creation always comes out of her creativity.

I know it’s not the “learning” that I am pushing for — reading, saying ABCS and shapes — but learning is occurring. I will often see her taking Duplo blocks out and examining ever so closely. Maybe she is trying to determine the color of them, or the best formation for a fortress for her Rapunzel and Snow White figurines. I am not sure what is going through her little mind, but I know authentic learning is happening.


About briancookeducator

Husband, Daddy, teacher, #Mountaineer, coach, and aspiring school leader | Thoughts are my own.
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