Teaching and Learning:
As a part of a federal School-to-Work (STW) grant, summer workshops were
planned to offer teachers time and space to learn how to engage
students through contextual teaching and learning experiences.
The workshop was 50 hours, and the participants received certification
renewal credit for their time and effort. Part of the workshop
was spent reading and researching the concept of contextual teaching,
another part provided a one-day internship in a business setting
related to a subject the participant taught, yet another part
allowed time for synthesis and application of learned concepts
in the form of the unit plans that follow.
are based on the notion that contextual learning "marks an educational
philosophy and an educational strategy that centers on enabling
students to find meaningfulness in their education" (Parnell,
1995, p. 2). Unfortunately, students often fail to find meaning
in school, but the contextual learning classroom offers a place
for meaning and content to merge. Parnell (1995) points out that
this educational stance provides opportunities for the "teacher to broaden students'
perceptions so that meaning becomes visible and the purpose of
learning immediately understandable" (p. 2). Then, as students
engage in purposeful classroom learning experiences, they begin
to see the how content mirrors the world beyond school. In the
contextual teaching and learning classroom, learning experiences
are based on the application of traditional expectations through
five approaches: problem-based learning, cooperative learning,
project-based learning, service learning, and work-based learning
(Berns & Erickson, 2001). The units created as a result of
the summer workshops represent the participants' movement into
these less traditional teaching and learning strategies. Many
also reflect the participants' experience in the world of work-the
place the teachers saw the real-world application of their subject
your input as you browse the units. Please feel free to contact
or the author of a particular unit. No untaught unit is perfect,
and as the teachers implement their work in the actual classroom,
they will refine and update, but your knowledge can richen their
work as teachers and the students as learners.
Kennesaw State University
Bern, R.G. & Erickson, P.M. (2001).
Contextual Teaching and Learning: Preparing Students for the New
Economy. The Highlight Zone: Research @ Work. <http://www.nccte.com>(2003, May 15).
D. (1995). Contextual Teaching Works! Increasing
Students' Achievement. Waco, Texas: CCI Publishing.