The autonomous and authentic principle includes choice, control over one’s work, flexibility and opportunities. The teacher teams must have the support of the school administration, but management should give the team the autonomy they need to function properly. Teachers themselves are the ones who can change their work and the school. They are the experts of their own teaching, students, the school and education in their context. The need to change evolves from the real-world problems teachers face every day.
“There are substantial benefits to be gained from autonomous regulation as compared to more controlled regulation”. (Bonk & Khoo, 2014) Keeping this in mind, administrators should create an atmosphere in the school that respects teachers’ choices, and gives possibilities for teachers to engage in teamwork that is relevant to their needs.
One of the basic components in Finnish education, in addition to trust, is teacher autonomy. Teachers are free to plan their teaching, as long as they obey the law, anyway they feel is beneficial to the students. Teachers can also try all kind of different pedagogical approaches alone or with their colleagues. The freedom to try and fail is essential. This is what this principle underlines: trial and error!
Download activities here.
Download checklist for the administrator here.
Download UbD Backward Design Template for planning here.
Download Peer observation template for recording data here.