Jessica Cuthbertson, EdNewsColorado.org, July 30, 2012
"Aurora teacher Jessica Cuthbertson has a joyful learning experience and it has nothing to do with filling in bubbles, getting graded or working quietly and alone.
"We engaged in a collaborative, authentic learning experience. And as a result, we left the second day committed to creating and constructing authentic learning experiences with our own students in August.
"We didn’t take tests – though the facilitators frequently assessed and monitored our needs as learners. We didn’t bubble anything in or respond to prompts or read passages written to meet the criteria of a certain “level” or to “measure” our comprehension. We didn’t sit silently and passively. We didn’t receive nor were we expected to arrive at the “right” answer. We didn’t work in isolation. We didn’t feel inadequate or invisible because we read a text differently or because we brought (or lacked) certain experiences or background knowledge. We didn’t face interruptions or distractions. We didn’t worry about receiving a grade or even if we would receive professional learning “credit.”
"Instead, we experienced the joy of learning.
"Today’s teachers and students are part of a national culture that values quantifying the unquantifiable. We are so busy “racing to the top” that it is easy to lose sight of the journey along the way. Authentic learning is the journey. It is hard to measure or quantify a chorus of “oh’s” and “a-ha’s” — the murmurings that fill a room after a rich discussion. It is difficult to measure the transformation of a furrowed brow that turns into a spark in a student’s eye when they see a text, a concept, a problem or an issue in a new way. Learning is full of such moments — the internal and external dialogue that is at the heart of authentic learning."