Parents frequently have the opportunity to just explore with their children. Just spending time looking, listening, talking… And this is when children really learn. When the exchange is spontaneous, real, authentic…
Authentic learning is just that. It is spontaneous and real. The only difference is that the educator also has objectives and goals that need to be woven in.
Here is the difference. The father gets up in the morning and decides to take his young son on a hike. While on the hike they discover a lake. The father and son enjoy the view, and the father also talks to his son about what they are seeing. Lots of authentic learning is taking place.
Now, picture the father as an educator (and aren’t all parents educators). He gets up in the morning, looks at his plan book, and sees he wants to introduce the concept of “lake” to his young learner. So, he plans a hike that ends at a lake. Here is the big difference. The father went on a hike and happened to end up at a lake. The educator plans a hike that ends up at a lake.
Once they get there, the educator lets his young learner take everything in, and also introduces the concept of “lake.” And if there is not a lake nearby to explore, he plans a field trip. Or he finds a video on line that explores a lake. (Authentic can be virtual as well…)
Oh…and in the first scenario, the mom left at home enjoyed some quality nap time!