Toward an Understanding of Authentic Learning: Student Perceptions of an Authentic Classroom

  • Molly Nicaise
  • Terresa Gibney
  • Michael Crane


Advocates of educational reform often describe classroom instruction as inauthentic. That is, most classroom learning activities are structured around artificial contexts for learning, and students only engage in tasks and remember information at superficial levels. Some teachers are attempting to break traditional classroom practices by creating authentic contexts for learning. To date, most of the research on authentic classrooms has described the processes teachers have used to develop the classroom environment (learning activities, resources, etc.); however, few have examined authentic classrooms from the students' perspective: “What do students think about authentic classrooms?” The purpose of this qualitative study was to examine a unique learning environment at a large, Midwest high school to understand how students perceived that environment. Most of the students reported a positive experience and described the classroom as fun and exciting with real-world relevance. However, there were several students who did not share these views, and many students were not successful.

authentic learning education reform high school science instructional practices student experiences 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Molly Nicaise
    • 1
  • Terresa Gibney
    • 2
  • Michael Crane
    • 3
  1. 1.Santa Barbara City CollegeSanta Barbara
  2. 2.Western Washington UniversityBellingham
  3. 3.University of Missouri-ColumbiaColumbia

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