Session 198: How do you engage your students in ‘authentic’ learning?

-Session Title: How do you engage your students in ‘authentic’ learning? 

Date: Thursday 17th April 2014.

Hosted by: Margaret Stelmach (@Marg2511)

The session will focus on the following questions, released at certain periods during the chat:

Q1. How do you define authentic learning

Q2. How can we ensure activities and tasks mirror skills needed in our world?

Q3. How can we build empathy into our lessons / projects to get to students action real change?

Q4. Project Based Learning (PBL) is one way of creating an authentic learning environment- linking real world projects to the classroom. Which model do you use?

Q5. How do we break down the wall that exists between schools and home?


Authentic learning is a catch phrase being thrown around in the current educational climate. The discussion had the aim of better understanding how to transform our teaching and learning in order to making it more “authentic” for our students. The discussion highlighted that for learning to be classified “authentic” it needed to be connected to the real world where learners practice particular skills and task required to succeed in our ever changing world.

[pullquote]Communication, Collaboration, Creativity and Critical thinking.[/pullquote]There had been much discussion on the four Cs; Communication, Collaboration, Creativity and Critical thinking, and how these needed to be explicitly taught and assessed. We spoke at length about creativity and how it can be fostered and encouraged. These skills were present in great relevant and authentic projects.

@Tim_Suiter tweeted that “we assume learners outgrow exploration” another essential part of authentic learning. Exploration is considered crucial for meaningful learning and this tweet highlights how as educators we sometimes forget that what we classify authentic exploration in the early learning classroom, becomes squashed as students grow. This was further evident in another tweet by ?@Tim_Suiter, “Go into an Early Years setting, see a child fully absorbed in self directed play and exploration now that’s Authentic Learning “

Project Based Learning was raised, as was Design Thinking in regards to models which build these essential skills. These models allow educators to create inclusive classroom where learners of all abilities can succeed.

Projects are designed around real community needs, building empathy and giving learners the chance to learn skills which will be presented to a “real audience” some examples given were maths business projects or social justice projects. Bringing the real world into the classroom and using the 4Cs to learn how to succeed in our digital world.

Highlights from the session:


About your host:

My name is Margaret Stelmach. I am a primary school teacher at St Felix Catholic primary school in Sydney, Australia. I am passionate about creating authentic learning opportunities for our learners as it provides them with skills required to succeed in our digital world.

My Twitter tag is @marg2511 and my class blog can be found at

The archive:

Session 198 – How do you engage your students in ‘authentic’ learning?

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