The definition encourages the students to create a tangible, useful product to be shared with their world or in language teaching, the EFL students to be able to orally/in writing communicate their ideas/subject matters in English. Authentic learning is learning by doing meaning that the English lecturers are demanded to provide the students more chances to directly communicate the language without spending the hours for lecturing. The English lecturers serve as facilitators of how language used in the real world setting (not as language experts who talks (Christmas, 2014, p.53; Pearce, 2016, p.1-3).
The paradigm shift from the traditional teaching methods and principles (teacher-centred) to the authentic learning (student-centred) approach totally affects the lecturer role’s change in the teaching and learning processes. Christmas (2014, p.53) deciphers the roles of the lecturer in the Authentic Pedagogy as excerpted as follows.
“The function of the (EFL) lecturer mostly turns into a facilitator, guiding the (EFL) students on (completing) the real-life tasks. The tasks are organised into portfolios. The authentic learning approach engages the entire students’ senses thus allowing them to construct meaningful, useful, shared outcomes. The students work on the real life tasks, or the simulated tasks that provide the students with opportunities to connect with the real world. Authentic learning provides students with the support to achieve tangible, useful results worth sharing with their community and their world. It is practical for lecturer to implement multi-sensory activities, pursue meaningful tasks, explore a variety of skills with real world applications is optimal learning and that it needs to be practiced regularly. The authentic learning model emphasises mainly the quality of process and innovation. The emphasis is not about understanding lecturer speaks and repeats the content just for a unit test, it is more about developing a set of culminating skills sets, within a realistic timeline, using self-motivated inquiry methods to create a useful product to be shared with a specific audience” (Christmas, 2014).
Similarly, Lombardi (2007, p.2) asserts that, “Authentic learning naturally places emphasis on the real-world problems, complex issues and their solutions using role-playing exercises, problem-based activities, case studies, and participation in virtual communities of practice”. Other than that, another important point of view come from the Australian Council for Educational Leaders (ACEL) proposed by Pearce (2016, p.1-3) in her ACEL e-Teaching Management Strategies for the Classroom states that, “Authentic Learning enables the students to make use of the skills and knowledge learned beyond the classroom walls. Learning in authentic learning is designed to connect what the students are taught in school to real-world issues, problems, and applications (Pearce, 2016, p.1-3).”
In the context of foreign language education, authentic learning is defined by Rossi (2013, p.55-64) as learning with authentic materials that highly orient to language used in the real world. This orientation refers to the language use that takes place in a real-life setting and aims at providing the students with as real-life language competences such as reading, listening, speaking, writing, knowledge of vocabulary, affective and authentic rules of language mostly used in that subject matters and communication skills. In addition to it, the main characteristics of authentic learning in foreign language educations are motivating and meaningful; real-world orientation; and setting authenticity. These main characteristics elucidate that the topics and materials the students learn exceedingly link to their real world and of course make them easier to learn the target language skills (Rossi, 2013, p.55-64). Authentic learning materials are, on the other hand, defined as materials which are not originally been produced for the language foreign language education purposes. This type of material has its source authenticity, which means it is taken straight from its ‘natural environment (source of origin such as novels, newspapers, online articles, etc)’ and it was originally most likely created for a native speaking audience in the target language country and culture (Rossi, 2013, p.43-54).
The authenticity of the sources of authentic learning materials in foreign language education originate from, for examples, literary texts such as novels, poems and short stories; newspaper and argumentative texts such as news pieces, articles, columns; other texts such as letters, song lyrics and comic books; instructive and informative material such as brochures, cards, manuals, recipes, menus and tickets; photographic images such as advertisement, photographs and other pictures; audio material such as radio, music, interviews, and podcasts; audio-visual material such as TV-series, movies, and video clips; and lastly, Internet-based material such as websites in general, YouTube videos, chat forums and blogs (Rossi, 2013, p.46-47).
In conclusion, authentic learning is an instructional approach that enables students to learn real world relevancies whereas authentic learning in foreign language’s context is a language learning that reflects the language knowledge and proficiencies (skills: reading, listening, speaking, writing, vocabulary and grammar) used real-world life for examples English for nurse, English for mechanical engineering students, etc. The key aspect of authentic learning in foreign language’s context is the processes of texts’ development and exploitation in the EFL classroom.
a. Characteristics of Authentic Learning
To authenticate learning at schools, colleges and higher education, Herrington & Oliver (2000, p.23-48); Herrington & Herrington (2008, p.70-73) propose the nine critical characteristics of authentic learning.
1. Authentic learning provides an authentic context that reflects the way the knowledge and skills are used in real life. In language teaching, the English lecturers provide students suitable examples of real language (words, phrases, vocabulary, expressions, sentences, rules of language, etc) mostly used in the field of mechanical engineering (or in the real-world situation).
2. Authentic learning provides Authentic Activity. In language teaching, the tasks the students perform should ideally comprise ill-defined activities that have to do with real-world setting and of course orally and or in writing communicated to notice their language progresses.
3. Authentic learning provides examples/models (of how the language used in certain real-world context). In language teaching, even though this is extremely difficult to do by mostly English lecturers, they have to learn the ways the real practitioners (engineers) communicate in English ahead of giving his/her students (a simple) models of how the real practitioners (engineers) communicate their in English.
4. Authentic learning provides multiple roles and perspectives. In language teaching, the students are demanded to have roles in the learning activities and dare to communicate their ideas in front of their classmates and or of the class.
5. Authentic learning provides collaborative construction of knowledge. In language teaching, English lecturers should provide opportunities for his/her students to collaboratively complete the assigned tasks, to learn the rules of language, or discuss the topics being learnt. This is the way of solving the English learning problems (the smart ones are required to teach/explain the assigned tasks to the problem students).
6. Authentic learning provides learning reflection after the instructional process. In language teaching, the questions that may reflect the students’ learning are “what have they done, what have they learnt, what have they discussed, what problems they have had and how to solve them, did they work together, did they complete the assigned tasks well, did they cheat, did they perform well, did they tried to communicate their ideas in English, what they need to know, did the past lessons improve their language skills, etc.” These reflection questions are meant to recognise whether the student become better at or well improved in learning authentic materials.
7. Authentic learning provides articulation/presentation. In language teaching, this characteristic is importantly required. Every meeting, the students are demanded to articulate/present their works and defend their argument in front of the class. The audiences are required to take notes what they are listening to and, besides listening to music, YouTube or other, this is the simple way of improving listening skills.
8. Authentic learning provides coaching and scaffolding. In language teaching, the English lecturers are urged to not to teach the language, but they should have to coach/train the students to communicate the target language. The lecturers are encouraged to provide learning assistance to those who have not yet understood the theme being learnt and after that, they have been given responsibility to learn on their own.
9. Authentic learning provides authentic assessment. In language teaching, it is very important to authentically assess the students’ learning.
As it is defined by O’Malley, ; Pierce (1996, p.4-5), authentic assessment is a form of assessment in which the students are asked to directly and meaningfully perform or demonstrate the tasks which is a process of reflection on their learning. Similarly, Nitko (1996, p.243) authentic assessment is a means of assessing students’ tasks and or learning outcomes. Therefore, in authentic learning of English, presenting students with tasks that are directly educationally meaningful to the real-world life is a way to engage the students in learning. In the authentic assessment, the four features should be incorporated. The first is emphasise applications. The lecturer should assess what his/her students can do and know. The second is to focus on direct assessment. This means that the assessment should be based on the stated learning target. The third is to use realistic problem. The tasks performed/demonstrated must be framed in a highly realistic way so that the students can recognise them as part of their real-life world. The last is to encourage open-ended thinking. The tasks assessed should provide more than one correct answer. The students are expected to provide multiple answers over the tasks (Herrington & Herrington, 2008, p.71).