One of the most essential lessons we have taken away from COVID-19 is that, whether we like it or not, the real world pervades the classroom. Of course, a virus is not the only thing we have to deal with regularly in the real world. Our students and lecturers at SEGi College Penang (SCPG) are constantly interacting with the world beyond the classroom, from political unrest to global warming, and they sometimes find it difficult to contrast both in-class material and outside situations.
As academics, we seek to incorporate real-world experiences into their classrooms. But how do we do this?
Let us define authenticity first before moving on to a few useful practices. Authenticity is best defined as a set of experiences in which lecturers and students of SCPG interact in contexts and content that is aligned with real-world experiences, with students having a say in what they do. As a result, in the classroom, authenticity is not a binary idea. It is not an issue of whether or not we have authenticity. The question is, to what extent are we being real right now?
SEGi College Penang has developed ways to make certain practices possible for time-strapped instructors, in addition to improving the degree of authenticity in the classroom. Stacking new habits with what instructors are already doing in the classroom is one method to consider as we work towards authenticity in the classroom. Contexts, content, and choice are three critical areas where high-leverage authenticity habits can help us move toward greater authenticity in our classrooms.
Context is the degree to which students and lecturers are immersed in current real-world circumstances, opportunities, difficulties, and people. Students are drawn to current issues and those that are related to them in some way. They are buzzing with questions such as what is going on right now, how it relates to them and the people they care about, and how they might help solve problems.
Content is the degree to which lecturers and students of SCPG are engaged in academic information and abilities that are used in the actual world. According to research, the ability to engage in real-world tasks and apply learning necessities is a fundamental subject understanding in the context of the real-world circumstance.
Finally, choice refers to how much autonomy students and lecturers have within the limitations of a genuine situation. In the classroom, students require a certain level of autonomy. The exact question(s) to work on, the products to make, the choice of group members to engage with, and the tools for navigating group dynamics and problem-solving strategies are all examples of clear limits surrounding a collection of choices for students.
Authenticity does not necessitate annual projects or field visits. Daily embedding practices that integrate real-world problems into our classrooms right here at SCPG are required for authenticity. We bring authenticity into our classrooms and students’ daily lives by shifting its focus to our approach.