Authentic Education: Affording, Engaging, and Reflecting

Authentic Education: Affording, Engaging, and Reflecting

Francisco Cua
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-6046-5.ch047
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Active learning challenges students to take ownership of their learning engagements by engaging actively in developing skills, which includes literary skills, linking the practice to theory, as well as thinking about practical and theoretical implications. Textual analysis of their learning journals revealed that students who chose “authentic education” over “instructionism” understood the technical issues of the knowledge better. They were also more creative and committed. Their learning process conveys that they are empowered in understanding the connections between the practical and theoretical dimensions and that they are open to deal with uncertainty. The findings indicate that the construction of learning by self-directed and empowered students can be formed by a community of these students. This is explored in this chapter.
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The primary and secondary problems are: Had learning occurred? How did students confront the complexity of the Financial Statement Analysis course (FSA) as they engaged in the in-depth and reflective experiences of authentic learning? Reflections of practitioners in a community are generally not available, but not in FSA. Reflective journals were components of student’s portfolio which was a summative assessment. The FSA students could be sensitive or insensitive as well as responsive or unresponsive to conduct independent active in-depth learning required by the curriculum. Their social (and hopefully emotional) interactions accounted their learning journey, learning experience, and reasons of success or failure. The reflective journals represent measurable summative assessment. Students’ interactions with their facilitator and their classmates were recognized and reflected upon. Their interactions recorded in the learning journals demand re-evaluation (this manuscript) of what evidence is, a need that is met by the reflective practice and the evidence it provides.

The learning journeys of fourteen students in the case study highlighted complex issues of authentic learning, namely: (1) knowledge construction events for students to transform themselves; (2) students’ awareness and their socialization; and (3) the empowered self as a reflection of what actually was in front of the “mirror.” The premise is that the reflection is an outcome of knowledge construction (events), a representation of constructed knowledge (identity), and a way of cognitive thinking fraught with ambiguity and subjectivity (Sartre, 1996, 1998). The case study explores, understands, and shares the events, the identity, and the self of the authentic learning as the intertwining strands of a twisted rope, which is the authentic education. The case study represents an inverted triangle of three layers. The top-most first domain is the higher education institution in Almaty, Kazakhstan. The middle domain is the Financial Statement Analysis (FSA) course in the spring 2011 semester. The lowest third domain is the abstract case consisting complex issues.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Experience: Comprises of skills development or knowledge construction through involvement of an event or engagement of a task. If the experience is the know-how knowledge, the practice itself is the praxis and the knowledge as experience-based, empirical, or a posteriori.

Contexts: Are the circumstances that frame an event, a statement, or an idea for it to be fully thoroughly understood. The three dimensions of contexts are macro, meso, and micro. The macro dimension is about the external uncontrollable environment. For example, government rules and regulations and culture are uncontrollable macro contexts. Meso is institutional (organizational) in nature. Micro refers to individual circumstances.

Frame Of Reference: Is the perceived structure of concepts, values, or perspectives by an individual or a group of people evaluating, communicating, or regulating the data or behavior.

Authentic Education: Is situated learning that lets students encounter and master real life situations or situations that resemble real life.

Affordances: Are qualities of an object or an environment which allows an individual or a community of practice to perform an action. For instance, authentic education affords reflecting and engaging.

Learning: Is a multidimensional process that results in a relatively enduring change in a person or persons, and consequently how that person or persons will perceive the world and reciprocally respond to its affordances physically, psychologically, and socially. The process of learning has as its foundation the systemic, dynamic, and interactive relation between the nature of the leaner and the objective of the learning as ecologically situated in a given time and place as well as over time.

Learning Environment: Is about social, physical, psychological, and pedagogical contexts in which teaching and learning occur. The context can be macro, meso, and/or micro in dimensions. The dimension can also be political, economic, societal, technological, environmental, and/or legal.

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