08 SES 09, Perspectives on Health Literacy
Authenticity in various conceptual constructions is a topic that is quickly gaining more and more attention within education research and practice – and to some degree also within health education. The multitude of different definitions does however make it a difficult concept to apply directly to education settings.
This emerging attention and interest draws on several academic traditions and operates on different theoretical and practical levels. Barab et al. describe authenticity as an emergent process that is actualized through individuals’ participation in tasks and practices of value to themselves and to a community of practice and, thereby, link authenticity to subjective usability (Barab et al., 2000). In doing this, they draw upon Dewey’s classic theories about learning and experience and on how an idea is always to be located in its consequences (Dewey, 1938). Petraglia views authenticity as a potential way of translating knowledge into action and, furthermore, points out: ‘that the legitimization of information as authentic is not a matter of possessing factual or technically correct information but rests on our belief that the information conforms with our sense of who we are and what we know’ (Petraglia, 2009: 178). Petraglia, thereby, links authenticity to issues relating to both identity and knowledge. Furthermore, Petraglia dismisses the legitimacy of pre-authentication and describes authenticity as a dynamic process between learner, task and environment (Petraglia, 1998). Kreber et al. present a comparative review of the literature on conceptions of authenticity in teaching. In the review, they discuss authenticity as a multidimensional phenomenon with particular focus on authenticity as a process of negotiation of meaning (Kreber et al., 2007). They also discuss Nodding’s distinction between rule-bound caring and caring grounded in empathy, and Cranton and Carusetta’s conclusion that, in the context of universities, authentic educators must show consistency between values and actions (Nodding, 2003; Cranton and Carusetta, 2004). Kreber’s review leans heavily towards philosophical theories and pays significant attention to Taylor´s ‘Ethics of authenticity’. Taylor argues that true authenticity involves a recognition of and an openness to what he calls ‘horizons of significance’ — certain larger contexts that might include respect for and benevolence toward others and toward the natural world. They provide a sense of personal connection with a larger political, social or religious source of meaning (Taylor, 1991). In an edutainment context, Guttman et al. describe five aspects of adolescents’ conception of authenticity: 1) Authentic story, 2) Authentic depiction, 3) Authentic expression, 4) Authentic connection and 5) Genuine caring (Guttman et al., 2008).
But what could all of this mean for health education practice and research?
This paper proposes a recently developed empirically informed theoretical construction focusing on authenticity categories (Grabowski & Rasmussen, 2014). In short, this theory describes four interdependent categories of authenticity: 1) Authentic connections/relations, 2) Authentic instructors, 3) Authentic themes and 4) Authentic methods/activities. Each of the four categories includes analytical tools for researchers and practical recommendations for health education professionals.
This presentation will discuss this theoretical innovation in the context of other more well-established and often used concepts and methods in health education. Among the discussed concepts are action competence, participation, self-efficacy and health literacy. The discussion will focus on how the authenticity categories might possibly be used together with these concepts.
Barab, S.A., Squire, K.D. and Dueber, W. (2000), A co-evolutionary model for supporting the emergence of authenticity, Educational Technology Research and Development. Vol. 48, No. 2: 37-62. Cranton, P.A. and Carusetta, E. (2004), Developing authenticity as a transformative process, Journal of Transformative Education, Vol. 2 No. 4: 276-293. Dewey, J. (1938), Experience & education, Kappa Delta Pi, New York. Grabowski, D. & Rasmussen, K.K. (2014) Authenticity in health education for adolescents: A qualitative study of four health courses. Health Education, Vol. 114, No. 2: 86-100. Guttman, N., Gesser-Edelsburg, A. and Israelashvili, M. (2008), The paradox of realism and "authenticity" in entertainment-education: A study of adolescents' views about anti-drug abuse dramas, Health Communication, Vol. 23 No. 2: 128-141. Kreber, C., Klampfleitner, M., McCune, V., Bayne, S. and Knottenbelt, M. (2007), What do you mean by "authentic"? A comparative review of the literature on conceptions of authenticity in teaching, Adult Education Quarterly, Vol. 58 No. 1: 22-43. Noddings, N. (2003), Caring: A feminine approach to ethics and moral education, University of California Press, Berkeley. Petraglia, J. (1998), Reality by design, Routledge, New York. Petraglia, J. (2009), The importance of being authentic: Persuasion, narration, and dialogue in health communication and education, Health Communication, Vol. 24 No. 2: 176-185. Taylor, C. (1991), The Ethics of Authenticity, Harvard University Press, Cambridge.
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