A profile of the commonalities and characteristics of contextual teaching as practiced in selected educational settings Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/br86b6862

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  • Contextual teaching is emerging as an important concept in education reform efforts. This field study attempts to clarify the concept of contextual teaching by defining and identifying characteristics found in the research literature, experienced teacher observations and practices, and students' views of contextual teaching. The foundation for this field study was developed out of a larger project funded by the U.S. Department of Education known as the Oregon State University Contextual Learning Institute and Consortium. The purpose of this project was to conduct research in contextual teaching and learning in five Portland, Oregon, high schools involving 32 teachers and 350 students. This field study involved three, of the five high schools (7 teachers and 11 students) and five experienced teacher/consultants. Those involved in this study define contextual teaching in varying ways, but there was unanimous agreement that the basis for contextual teaching is making the connections between what a student is trying to learn and some aspect of a real world experience. A consensus of teachers participating in this study define contextual teaching as school experiences that provide meaning, relevance, real life experiences, and connections. The key characteristics of contextual teaching as identified by this study included: 1) Students learn more by combining knowing and doing wherever possible. 2) Students see that learning expectations have some connection to everyday life. 3) Students draw connections between different subject-matter disciplines bringing together content and context of application. 4) Students and teachers use teamwork and collaboration to solve real-life problems. 5) Emphasizes that active and involved students learn more, while requiring creative ways of dealing with school structure and calendar. 6) Contextual pedagogy stresses teaching knowledge and skills differently, not teaching different knowledge and skills. 7) The role of the teacher changes from expert to that of coach. Based upon findings of this field study, contextual teaching can be defined as an educational and instructional strategy focusing on enabling students to see meaning and relevance in their education. Knowledge and application of knowledge are deliberately tied together in the teaching act. Contextual teaching aims at helping all students make connections between subject-matter content and context of application.
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