The Importance of Authentic Projects with Accountability from a Teacher's Perspective

  • 2023
  • Middle School
Jennifer Stroud, Middle School Homeroom & Literacy Teacher

Authentic projects have become increasingly valued in modern education as they provide students with real-world connections and applications. However, it is essential to clarify that authenticity does not always mean originality. Instead, authenticity refers to projects that incorporate accountability, where students take responsibility for their learning and actions. From a teacher's perspective, authentic projects with accountability offer numerous benefits that extend beyond traditional classroom settings.

Authentic projects provide students with opportunities for meaningful learning experiences. By incorporating accountability, students are encouraged to take ownership of their learning, set goals, and reflect on their progress (even if this is a negative experience).  This approach instills a sense of responsibility and purpose, enabling students to connect classroom concepts to real-life situations and apply their knowledge effectively. 

Maintaining student engagement is a constant challenge for teachers. Authentic projects with accountability address this challenge by capturing students' interests and actively involving them in their learning journey. When students have a sense of responsibility and accountability, they become more invested in their work. They are motivated to actively participate, collaborate with peers, and strive for excellence. This increased engagement leads to a more dynamic and interactive learning environment.   An example of an authentic project that fosters accountability is the newspaper that Grade 8 has just published.  Students have known from the start of journalism that their articles will not only be seen by their peers but also by the wider school community and parents.  The accountability of this project has spurred students to perform their best.

Authentic projects also provide teachers with an opportunity to emphasize the importance of social responsibility. Students understand the impact of their actions on themselves, their peers, and the broader community.  In the reading unit earlier in the year students produced an analysis of the authors skill with characterization, filmed this review and, with the aid of a QR code, put the reviews into the front pages of the novels in the library.  In this exercise students were working groups, if one student failed in their part of the project, the final group product would be impacted.

From a teacher's perspective, authentic projects hold immense importance in education. The benefits collectively contribute to a transformative educational journey that prepares students for the complexities and challenges of the real world. Embracing authentic projects with accountability empowers teachers to create impactful learning environments that cultivate responsible, accountable, and well-rounded individuals.

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