I feel that contextual teaching and learning involves both hands on learning and real world experiences. Contextual classrooms learn by doing. This allows students to understand the concepts more fully. It also takes the subject matter that you learn in the classroom and applies it to your everyday life. Students are motivated to connect the content of knowledge to the application. This is especially important in mathematics, because students often feel that they do not need math skills other than basic addition, subtraction, etc. When you show them how they will use their skills in the everyday life they are more likely to learn and be excited about learning it.
Contextual teaching in mathematics needs a purpose of instruction such as application to daily lives and interactions. Lessons in contextual teaching should include meaningful contexts that help to create foundational knowledge for future reference. This type of teaching should actively engage students in the learning process, involving students in experiments with a wide range of content and ideas, being as creative as possible. Students should also be able to transfer what they have learned to real-world contexts when learning under contextual teaching in mathematics.
My definition of contextual teaching and learning is to be able to increase the interest of my students in mathematics by being able to relate mathematics to many different aspects of their life. For example, I am teaching students about velocity. Instead of lecturing and handing out formulas that students can use to solve velocity problems, I would have them experiment with paper airplanes, in groups, asking them to measure heights and distances and then graph their results. After the students have graphed their results, each group could discuss the graphs and make conjectures. Hopefully, this would encourage students to learn more about velocity and how velocity works. In addition, the activity is related to physics. I feel that that many mathematical concepts can be taught in different ways than the traditional teacher lecture. In addition, I think taking students on field trips and relating mathematics to work environments is an excellent way of gaining students interest in mathematics. Also, I think students will appreciate mathematics better if they see how math is used in real world situations. Therefore, I feel contextual teaching and learning is involving students in numerous ways, so that students are directing their own mathematical learning. Therefore, if students have a hand in mathematical learning, I think that students will grasp the concept faster and retain the concept longer.
I feel group projects are an excellent way to enact contextual learning and teaching in mathematics. However, I feel teachers need to be involved with group projects because it enables students that are weaker or lazier than the other members of the group, to sit back and let someone else do the work. Therefore, I think when students are assigned a group project that the project needs to be done in the classroom under teacher supervision.
In conclusion, my definition of contextual teaching and learning in mathematics is to be able to get the students involved in their own learning experience through field trips, group projects, demonstrations, and teacher supervision. I do not believe in handing out a page of formulas and teaching students how to plug in numbers and spend hours upon hours of lecturing. When I was in high school, the only method of teaching was through teacher lectures and I remember how boring and uninterested I was in mathematics. Therefore, I want to involve my students and make sure they do not have the same feelings as I did about mathematics.
After reading the articles and hearing Mrs. Banker speak to us about the mathematics found in quilt making, I have been able to develop my own definition of Contextual Teaching and Learning. Contextual Teaching and Learning is a way of teaching that expresses "real-world" applications. It allows teachers to have the ability to relate the concepts they are teaching to things that may relate to the students. Many times, the "traditional" lecture and note inhibits students from learning. For example, when a teacher is explaining how to solve a problem, the student may act as if they understand by memorizing the steps. But it has been recorded that if memorization is the case, then around two weeks after assessment the student fails to remember the steps. Contextual Teaching and Learning is designed to help students actually learn the material and keep it as knowledge. Basically, Contextual Teaching and Learning is learning by doing. This means the more times the students study and actually apply what they have been taught, the more apt they are to retain the information and become "expertise" in that particular subject.
I am currently a part of the Contextualized Teaching and Learning, CTL, program here at the University of Georgia. In every CTL class that I have been in we always start off trying to define what CTL is and means. Contextualized Teaching and Learning is a very complex idea that can be interpreted in many different ways depending on who you talk to.
For me CTL means many different things. To begin with, I believe CTL is the idea that if you bring in examples of how students can use the information you want to teach them into the classroom students will understand the information better and will be more willing to learn the information. CTL is a way to answer the famous question that every student asks, WHY do we have to know this?
There are many differences between Contextualized teaching and the traditional method of teaching. In the CTL program student will learn from each other through teamwork, discussions, cooperation, and self-reflection. This is different from the traditional way where students generally work by them selves. In addition, in a Contextualized class the opinions and perspectives are the students are valued as well as, the studentŐs life contexts and prior knowledge. In the traditional way, studentŐs opinions are rarely asked for and little is know about the studentŐs prior knowledge.
CTL will help students become active learners. Learning will be more meaningful to the students, it will help show them how the information fits into the community outside the classroom, and how members of the community use the knowledge in their everyday lives. A teacher who uses the Contextualized method will not lecture the students but rather act as a facilitator of student learning. I feel that the CTL assumptions do a very good job in describing what CTL is in more detail. There are many assumptions that come with the CTL method.
Contextual Learning "Learning by Doing" Contextual learning can involve many different contexts and settings. As addressed in the reading it engages student in learning and allows them to think out problems in several different ways. The way that I would most define contextual learning would be learning by doing. It involves having the knowledge and being able to apply that knowledge. Contextual learning allows educators to break free of just lecturing, and allowing them to actually teach. Teachers can do this with group projects, discussions, or experiments. This way of teaching allowing student to get involved and allows them to learn by doing. Having the knowledge of knowing how to something, does not necessarily mean one will know how to do it, unless the actually try to do it. This is where contextual learning comes in at "learning by doing." It allows students to learn mathematical importance of the subject matter by actually doing the experiment or projects. It allows them to put to use the knowledge they have acquired to use, because they learning by doing.
Contextual teaching and learning is real world applications of mathematics in the classroom. The key issues in CTL are community, content, and context. CTL is in a way a twentieth century idea that is beginning to be more and more common in today's classrooms. The classrooms seem to be louder than traditional classrooms, because there is a lot of hands on activities, and labs that tie the content of the math books into the world, and locally in the community. Some of the more traditional educators, those who have been in the business for many years are finding CTL difficult to comprehend. They don't want a deviation to the norm, they don't want to change what they think has been working for years. However, some are accepting the new idea and think that it might be a better way to connect with all of the students. Getting the students involved rather than lecturing straight out of the book is the future for the teaching industry.