Authentic learning is learning that complements and parallels the real world. It’s an aggregate of real life. It’s part of being human. So why do we shield learning from the human condition? We say we want learning to be real, self-directed, intrinsically motivated, and authentic. But most of education continues to uphold rigid structures, straight lines, quiet mouse, low-risk-high-safety activities, penalties, behavior sticks, points taken, traditional letter grades, order, compliance, and a drive for perfection.

As humans, we have a tendency to flounder and stumble and screw up. Chaos and disorder are all around and we are defenseless against it.  It’s our propensity to mess stuff up. To fail.  Many times our ideas and thoughts have no organization, no conformity, and no path of convergence.  Actually our ideas many times are absurd and ridiculous.  Ridiculous and therefore, brilliant.

We’re human. And this is what human beings do: we take risks in the midst of chaos with the threat of plausible failure.

We need to show some grace to ourselves. Give ourselves a break.

Embrace and celebrate our condition.

Once we allow transparency and vulnerability to pervade our exterior, and allow others a window into ourselves, we in turn expose our humanity. Once we expose our humanity, we can experience thinking and learning assiduously.

Zealous, airy, and unsuppressed.

Exonerated from shame of ignorance, free from feeling stupid.

That’s authentic, human learning.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Posts


3 Ways School Leaders Can Put Transparency into Action

Originally featured in LeadupNow.com Most school leaders would say that transparency is one of their guiding principles in their school. But when faced with tough opposition in the midst of change, consider this: is your Read more…


Guiding Principles and Tech Help Students Become Leaders

Originally featured in EdTech Magazine Student leadership is now being classified as a soft skill that needs to be a part of classroom instruction. Our innovative work force relies on students to demonstrate this skill. Read more…

authentic learning

End Your Fixation on Tech Tools

Originally featured in the “Connect IT: Bridging the Gap Between Education and Technology” series. Please join the discussion on Twitter by using the #ConnectIT hashtag. One of the most exciting trends in education today is the integration Read more…