Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Authentic Work for Authentic Audiences

I've been teaching Classroom Management at UAB for about a year now, and I just received from that class what is probably the most authentic set of student work I've ever received. I've been working on implementing authentic work for authentic audience for about a year now, and with this set, I see that the work really paying off.

I gave my students this as their final course question, "How will I solve the authentic problem I face of having no opportunity now for practicing the skills necessary for effectively managing student misbehavior?" As any experienced teacher knows, it's impossible to learn how to manage secondary students' misbehavior while sitting in a university classroom. So, I basically told my classroom management students, "Go find a misbehaving group of secondary students and figure how what to do with them?"

I'm so impressed with what they came up with, and what really struck me was the range of their products. Here's a list of the kind of products they used to show what they've learned:

  • A brochure for future art teachers
  • An image gallery of students taught and lesson learned presented in PowerPoint
  • Blogs of lesson learned
  • A hand-written journal of reflections
  • A technical paper for future English teachers
  • Memos from school officials stating their abilities
  • A compelling narrative of growth based on the stories of prior experience
  • A revision of prior work submitted, revised based on new lessons learned
I think it's the most authentic set of student work I've ever received, and I'm really excited about the power of this kind of work.

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