+1 (208) 254-6996 essayswallet@gmail.com

Choice in learning also motivates students to engage in the classroom. When teachers

simply pass on information, students do not have as great of a chance to connect personally with

Don't use plagiarized sources. Get Your Custom Essay on
Choice in learning also motivates students to engage in the classroom
Just from $13/Page
Order Essay

the knowledge, with each other, with the teacher, and with the real world (Kalantzis & Cope,

2004). Choice allows students to self-regulate, to make goals, to make a plan, to make a

commitment, and then to reflect on what they have done. When given choices, students feel a

sense of control in their own learning.

Self-efficacy allows the students to take on a task and to believe that they can do the task.

Teachers then have the responsibility of giving feedback to their students in order to raise the

students’ self-efficacy, to guide them in their learning process while allowing them to use trial

and error (Beesley et al, 2010). Teachers motivate students by creating student-directed learning

balanced well with the teacher as coach and facilitator in the classroom.

Critical thinking and problem solving also motivate students. If a teacher stands in front

of a classroom of students who are disengaged from what she is teaching, little hope remains that

any deep learning and critical thinking skills are taking place. A teacher needs to create a

classroom in which disengagement is not an option, where learning demands the students’ full

attention, where what happens in the class creates the challenge and rigor most students




ultimately crave (Kalantzis & Cope, 2004). When students are engaged both cognitively and

behaviorally, students’ effort and concentration are high. Students choose tasks that challenge

and initiate action. Without motivation to engage in critical thinking, students become passive,

defensive, and bored. They give up easily (Beesley et al, 2010).

Further, being a community of learners motivates students. Cooperative learning results

in higher achievement than competitive or individual learning does (Beesley et al, 2010).

Working in community leads to students who are more willing to take on difficult tasks that

involve higher-level reasoning, more creativity, positive attitudes, more time spent on task,

higher motivation and thus higher satisfaction (Beesley et al, 2010). Students feel connected in

caring, supportive classrooms (Fredricks & McColskey, 2012).

According to Kalantzis and Cope (2004), “learning happens by design” (p. 39).

Classroom motivation happens when students are “psychologically engaged, active participants

in school, who also value and enjoy the experiences of learning at school” (Quin, 2016, p. 345).

By designing a classroom setting in which students are involved in real world problems with an

authentic audience, in the need for deeper critical thinking skills, and in defining the problem and

the direction for the solution (Rule, 2006), teachers develop motivated students who recognize

the “intrinsic fulfillment of meaningful work” (Romano, 2009 p. 36). These students become

equipped with the skills and attitudes to be successful after their formal education is completed.

Authentic learning experiences (ALE’s) are the “learning by design” (Kalantzis & Cope,

2004) students need to develop the motivation to engage them in the classroom. When they

understand meaning behind learning, they become engaged. Instead of giving students a math

equation to figure out, the teacher can ask them how much it is going to cost for the school to




pave the entire parking lot. Instead of having them write a fake letter in order to learn proper

letter formatting, they can write a letter to a family member or friend about the last book they

read. Instead of researching a recent war, they can interview a war veteran for firsthand

information. Instead of studying various websites to understand how they are made, students can

work directly with local businesses to create websites for the business’s actual use (O’Hanlon,

2008). Teachers then give their students meaning in their classroom work and the rigor that

students ultimately want (Romano, 2009). Students want to be challenged with high

expectations for achievement, knowing that their teacher does in fact believe they all can achieve

success (Varuzza, Eschenauer, & Blake, 2014; Vetter, 2010). The teacher needs to help the

students feel they are competent to accomplish real world work (Vetter, 2010). With clear

expectations, time to delve into the work, and freedom to explore, students find motivation to

learn (Lawrence & Harrison, 2009). They find that intrinsic value in what they learn, as well as

the sense of accomplishment and satisfaction in a job well done (Romano, 2009). The teacher

becomes the facilitator rather than the director (Vetter, 2010). Teachers no longer stand at the

front of the room lecturing; rather, they coach their students through the learning process.

Teachers can guide students to this kind of learning through ALE’s.

Purpose of the Study

Authentic learning experiences have the power to pull students to that “intrinsic value of

meaningful work.” Students will have work that allows them to interact, to take ownership of

their learning, and to work outside the classroom (Varuzza et al., 2014). This study sought to

answer the question: Do authentic learning experiences in secondary English classrooms lead to

“the intrinsic fulfillment” of secondary students? In other words, do authentic learning




experiences lead to greater levels of motivation thus leading to greater engagement as students

realize the importance of the work they are doing for their future lives?


For the purpose of this study, the following definitions will be used. Unless otherwise

noted, the definitions are those of the author.

Authentic Learning Experiences: classroom activities with a real world/real audience focus that

incorporate critical thinking skills, that center around a community of learners, and that are

student-directed rather than teacher-directed.

Motivation: direction and energy in a student’s behavior that empowers them to take on a

challenge, to do quality work, and to persist until they have accomplished a meaningful goal

(Beesley et al, 2010, Fredricks & McColskey, 2012).

Engagement: cognitive or behavioral action that results from a high level of motivation and

leads to strong effort, concentration, enthusiasm, and curiosity (Beesley et al, 2010).

Real World Experiences: classroom activities that tie directly to situations that happen in the

world outside the classroom that students may encounter in their daily life now or in the future.

Real World Audience: an audience for classroom work other than the teacher, such as parents,

school community, public audience beyond the school, anyone capable of critiquing student

work, and recipients of service done by the students (Wagner, 2017).

Critical thinking skills: ability to think clearly and rationally, to engage in reflection, to

synthesize and analyze, and to think independently, creatively, and with vision.

Community of Learners: multiple students or the class as a whole engaged together in the

learning process, working collaboratively rather than in competition.




Student-directed learning: students taking responsibility and ownership in their learning while

the teacher becomes more of a facilitator and coach.

Intrinsic value of meaningful work: when students feels personal satisfaction, enjoyment,

curiosity, and focus in the activity itself, not from an outside force.


Because of our changing work force, our global economy, and the changing skills

required of our graduated students, authentic learning experiences have become essential for our

students. We need students to step out of the classroom ready to problem-solve, to find

solutions, to think critically and analytically, to collaborate, to communicate effectively, and to

be ethical and accountable in the workforce. To be successful in their future, they need authentic

learning experiences now to get them actively involved in their learning so that what they gain

from their education is the “intrinsic fulfillment of meaningful work” which will “develop a

productive, tenacious attitude toward such work” that they can “take . . .with them throughout

their lives” (Romano, 2009, p. 30).

Literature Review

Four Characteristics of an Authentic Learning Experience

When teachers plan for an authentic learning experience, four characteristics encompass

what makes those plans authentic. There must be a real world problem, use of inquiry and

critical thinking skills, a community of learners working together, and student choice in their


ALE’s use real world problems with impact outside of the classroom to motivate and

teach students (Rule, 2006). For example, an English teacher can connect her students with pen




pals from another country so that rather than writing letters only for the sake of learning the

format, they can learn the format while writing letters to these pen pals. Part of a real world

problem, as in this example, means a real world audience. Berger (2017) has implemented what

he calls the “hierarchy of audience.” According to Berger (2017), as the authenticity of the

audience increases, so does the motivation and engagement of the students. At the bottom of the

hierarchy is the audience of the teacher, followed by parents, the school community, a public

audience beyond the school, people capable of critiquing the students’ work, and at the top of

Berger’s hierarchy is authentic work done for service to the world (Wagner, 2017).



As a service in the outside world

People who can critique

Public Audience beyond the school Motivation and

School Community Engagement

Parents Increase


Figure 1. Figure that shows the hierarchy of audience for whom students can present their work

in order to increase student motivation and engagement (Wagner, 2017).

By incorporating both real world and real need elements, students’ view of the world

broadens as the world is brought into the scope of their learning environment (Kalantzis &

Copel, 2004).




Use of inquiry and critical thinking skills is anoth

Order your essay today and save 10% with the discount code ESSAYHELP