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Teachers and Students as Co-Learners

Toward a Mutual Value Theory


Dengting Boyanton

Teaching is hard. Many teachers find it stressful. New teachers often lose their enthusiasm. The special education population is skyrocketing. Students are losing their motivation. What has gone wrong? How can we create powerful learning in students? Most importantly, how can we bring joy back to the classroom? Mutual value theory, as developed by Dengting Boyanton, asserts that to generate powerful learning, four essential values must be instilled in both students and teachers:
1. self-value – both students and teachers value themselves highly
2. perceived self-value—both consider themselves to be highly valued by others
3. other-value – both value each other highly
4. course-value – both value the course highly
Since 2007, the author has applied this theory to her classroom teaching and has received overwhelmingly positive feedback. Students describe her courses as motivating, engaging, enjoyable, respectful, and empowering. Based on both theory and personal teaching experiences, Teachers and Students as Co-Learners: Toward a Mutual Value Theory will help readers develop a deeper understanding of learning, re-ignite their enthusiasm, and, most importantly, create powerful teaching and learning in the classroom.
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Chapter 3. Authenticity


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. 3 .


Meaning of Authenticity

As introduced in Chapter One, learning consists of two aspects: non-cognitive and cognitive. Authenticity is the non-cognitive aspect of learning. What does authenticity mean in the classroom setting? Authenticity can be simply understood as being one’s comfortable self where one feels secure, real, and at ease. However, being one’s authentic self does not mean behaving any way that you like. For example, John is angry with Mike and his instinct is to scream at Mike or even to hit him. If John acts upon those impulsive and irrational instincts, or his true feelings and desires, even though those are his authentic feelings and desires at that moment, we would not call that “authenticity.” Why not? This is because in the classroom setting, the purpose of authenticity is to complement the cognitive part or powerfulness. Specifically, authenticity in the classroom setting consists of three levels: true self, performing self, and affective self.

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