Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name



Curriculum and Instruction

First Advisor

P. Bruce Uhrmacher, Ph.D.


Authenticity, Education, Newmann, Palmer


This study investigates the role of authenticity in education. By applying Fred Newmann’s theoretical framework of authentic achievement to a specific, K-12 setting operating in the real world, I examined Newmann’s five facets of authentic education and looked for their practical manifestations. Those facets are higher-order thinking, depth of knowledge, connectedness to the world beyond the classroom, substantive conversation, and social support for student achievement. Parker Palmer inspired the addition of the criteria of the spiritual/ineffable to the framework, which is also examined in relation to authentic pedagogy. Combined, these qualities are referred to as the authentic education framework (AEF). Qualitative data from The Spring School (pseudonym) on the east coast of the United States has been collected and analyzed through the lens of educational connoisseurship and criticism. This research method permits the researcher to provide thick description, interpretation, and evaluation and to draw on themes presented in the data analysis. Qualitative methods of data collection including interview, observation, and artifact review were corroborated. Because the administration of the school changed during the data analysis phase and no longer operates under the philosophy under which this study occurred, this paper has become an historical narrative.

The findings that emerged reveal that the following factors aid in the realization of authentic pedagogy at the elementary-school level: (1) school trust, (2) opportunities for aesthetic transformative experiences, (3) works toward a greater good, and (4) the role of the community. The notions of sincerity, honesty, relevance and wholisitic teaching in the school context were also evident. Findings also underscore the importance of a well developed and thoroughly considered school philosophy. This study confirms that the processes of teaching and learning are personal in nature and relative to context and that prescribed curricula and confining pedagogical methods are antithetical to the development of opportunities for authentic teaching and learning.


Received from ProQuest

Rights holder

Caitlin Stuard Lindquist

File size

203 p.

File format