Contextual Teaching and Learning is a perspective to know and address teaching and learning process in nature of knowledge. Throughout relationship both in and out of classroom, Contextual Teaching and Learning aims at making relevant and meaningful experience to students by building knowledge that will have applications to lifelong learning. In general, Contextual Teaching and Learning aims to build collaboration between the university/school and community in ways which are mutually beneficial.
These are the Contextual Teaching and Learning models that stress on:
- Delivery of curriculum through contextualized teaching and learning strategies
- Use of community-based experiences, workplace experiences, and school contexts to inform teaching and learning
- Preparation of teachers to implement contextual teaching strategies
In Contextual Teaching and Learning practice, it typically involves using one or more of the following seven teaching strategies.
1. Problem-based learning
2. Project-based learning
3. Inquiry-based learning
4. Service learning
5. Collaborative learning
6. Authentic assessment
7. Engaging students of various background
Contextual Teaching and Learning is good chance for learning about how to connect classroom experiences with the real working world. In university, Contextual Teaching and Learning includes faculty connection to control the courses with the future work experiences of the learners. By participate in Contextual Teaching and Learning classes orientation of university, the lecture should better understand how to help pupils making sense of what they learn in the context of the working world.
Examples of contextual teaching and learning theory strategies include:
Problem-based – Contextual Teaching and Learning can begin with a simulated or real problem. Students use critical thinking skills and a systemic approach to inquiry to address the problem or issue. Students may also draw upon multiple content areas to solve these problems. Worthwhile problems that are relevant to students’ families, school experiences, workplaces, and communities hold greater personal meaning for students.
Using multiple contexts – Theories of situated cognition suggest that knowledge can not be separated from the physical and social context in which it develops. How and where a person acquires and creates knowledge is therefore very important. Contextual Teaching and Learning experiences are enriched when students learn skills in multiple contexts (i.e. school, community, workplace, family).
Drawing upon student diversity – On the whole, our student population is becoming more diverse, and with increased diversity comes differences in values, social mores, and perspectives. These differences can be the impetus for learning and can add complexity to the Contextual Teaching and Learning experience. Team collaboration and group learning activities respect students’ diverse histories, broaden perspectives, and build inter-personal skills.
Supporting self-regulated learning – Ultimately, students must become lifelong learners. Lifelong learners are able to seek out, analyze, and use information with little to no supervision. To do so, students must become more aware how they process information, employ problem-solving strategies, and use background knowledge. Contextual Teaching and Learning experiences should allow for trial and error; provide time and structure for reflection; and provide adequate support to assist students to move from dependent to independent learning.
Using interdependent learning groups – Students will be influenced by and will contribute to the knowledge and beliefs of others. Learning groups, or learning communities, are established in workplaces and schools in an effort to share knowledge, focus on goals, and allow all to teach and learn from each other. When learning communities are established in schools, educators act as coaches, facilitators, and mentors.
Employing authentic assessments – Contextual Teaching and Learning is intended to build knowledge and skills in meaningful ways by engaging students in real life, or “authentic” contexts. Assessment of learning should align with the methods and purposes of instruction. Authentic assessments show (among other things) that learning has occurred; are blended into the teaching/learning process; and provide students with opportunities and direction for improvement. Authentic assessment is used to monitor student progress and inform teaching practices. (Wisconsin-Madison, University of, 2000)
The 7 Principles of Contextual Teaching and Learning
CTL (contextual teaching and learning) as an approach to learning has 7 principles. These principles underlying the implementation of the learning process by using CTL (contextual teaching and learning). The seven principles include:
Constructivism is the process of build or develop new knowledge in students’ cognitive structure based on experience. According to constructivism, the experience is met by the outside, but constructed by and from within oneself. Therefore, the experience is formed by two important factors i.e. the object becomes the subject of observation and ability to interpret the object.
The second principle is the inquiry in contextual learning. That is, the learning process is based on a search and discovery through a process of thinking systematically. Knowledge is not the result of considering a number of facts, but the outcome of the process of finding itself. Thus in the planning process, teachers are not preparing a number of materials to be memorized, but stimulate learning that allows students to find their own materials to be understood.
Learning is basically asking and answering questions. Questioning can be regarded as a reflection of the curiosity of every individual, while answering the questions reflects a person’s ability in thinking. In the learning process, teacher does not submit the information for granted, but the lure for students to find themselves. Since questioning has very important role, because through the questions teachers can guide and lead students to find any material that is learned.
4. Learning Community
In the contextual teaching and learning CONTEXTUAL TEACHING AND LEARNING) implementation of learning communities can be done by applying learning through study groups. Students are divided into groups whose members are heterogeneous good views of learning ability and speed of learning. Let each other learn in their group, who quickly pushed to help the slow learners.
Modeling is a learning process as an example to demonstrate something that can be emulated by every student. For example, the teacher gives examples of how to pronounce a foreign phrase. Gym teacher gave examples on how to throw a ball and so forth.
Reflection is the process of settling the experience has been learned that is done by re-sorting events or events that have gone through the learning. Through reflection on learning experiences that will be included in students’ cognitive structure that will eventually become part of the knowledge that has been formed.
7. Authentic Assessment
Authentic assessment is the process by the teacher to gather information about the students learning progress. This assessment is needed to determine whether students are actually learning or not. Does knowledge of student learning has a positive influence on both the intellectual and mental development of students
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National Conference on Teacher Quality – Exemplary Practices in Contextual Teaching and Learning
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Constructivism is a theory about how people learn. In fact, people construct their own understanding and knowledge of the world, by experience using things and reflect it on those experiences itself. When people find something new, we have to combine it with our earlier ideas and experience, maybe to change what people believe, or to reject the new information as irrelevant. In any case, people active to create and build their knowledge. To do this, we must ask questions, explore it, and review what people know.
In the classroom, the constructivist view of learning. It can point on different teaching practices. In the most general sense, it usually means support students to use active techniques (experiments, real-world problem solving) to create more knowledge. Then, to reflect on and talk about what they are doing and how their understanding is changed. The teacher makes sure she understands the students’ preexisting conceptions, and guides the activity to build and gain understanding. Students in the constructivist classroom become expert learners.
The concept of constructivism has roots in classical antiquity, Socrates’s dialogues with his followers, in which he asked directed questions that led his students to realize for themselves the weaknesses in their thinking. He assessed their students’ learning and plan new learning experiences. In this century, Jean Piagetand John Dewey developed theories of childhood development and education, it called Progressive Education now that led to the evolution of constructivism. Piaget believed that humans learn through the construction of one logical structure after another. He also concluded that the logic of children and their modes of thinking are different from adults. The implications of this theory have shaped in the foundation for constructivist education. In another hand, Dewey called for education to be grounded in real experience. He stated that wrote if people have worried about how learning happens, so engage in continued investigation of think over about study to believe alternative possibilities and arrive at your belief grounded in evidence. Investigation is a key part of constructivist learning.
Another philosopher, Vygotsky, he introduced the social aspect of learning into constructivism. He defined the Zone of Proximal Learning which according to solve problems beyond the students actual developmental level and they still under adult guidance or in collaboration with more capable peers. And, Bruner (1966) stated that a theory of instruction should talk to four major aspects:
Ä predisposition towards learning
Ä the body of knowledge can be structured and it can be most readily grasped by the learner
Ä the most effective progression in which to present material
Ä the nature and pacing of rewards and punishments.
Bruner initiated curriculum change. It based on the notion that learning is an active, social process which students construct new ideas or concepts based on their current knowledge.
THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN CONSTRUCTIVIST CLASSROOM AND TRADITIONAL CLASSROOM
Many methods deal with constructivist classroom, that the focus is attended to shift from the teacher to the students. The classroom is no longer a place where the teacher transfers knowledge into passive students, who wait like empty vessels to be filled. In the constructivist model, the students are recommended to be active in their learning process. The teacher as a facilitator, who coaches, mediates, prompts, and helps students develop and assess their understanding, and their learning too.
And, in the constructivist classroom, both teacher and students think of knowledge not as slow memorizing, but active, ever-changing view of the world they live in and the ability to successfully explore that view.
Here are the differences of constructivist classroom and traditional classroom:
Big concepts of curriculum, whole and parts as the beginner
Part of the whole unit as the beginner of the curriculum
Source and manipulative material as the primary material
Textbook and workbook are the primary material
Learning based on interactive and building knowledge
Learning based on repetition
Teacher as facilitator,, interactive role
Teacher as the tutorial, directive role
Assessment includes student works, observations, and points of view, as well as tests. Process is as important as product.
Assessment is through testing, correct answers
Knowledge is seen as dynamic, ever changing with our experiences.
Knowledge is seen as inert
Students work primarily in groups.
Students work primarily alone.
Constructivism has been criticized on various grounds. Some of the charges that critics level against it are:
It’s elitist. Critics say that constructivism and other “progressive” educational theories have been most successful with children from privileged backgrounds who are fortunate in having outstanding teachers, committed parents, and rich home environments. They argue that disadvantaged children, lacking such resources, benefit more from more explicit instruction.
Social constructivism leads to “group think.” Critics say the collaborative aspects of constructivist classrooms tend to produce a “tyranny of the majority,” in which a few students’ voices or interpretations dominate the group’s conclusions, and dissenting students are forced to conform to the emerging consensus.
There is little hard evidence that constructivist methods work. Critics say that constructivists, by rejecting evaluation through testing and other external criteria, have made themselves unaccountable for their students’ progress. Critics also say that studies of various kinds of instruction — in particular Project Follow Through 1, a long-term government initiative — have found that students in constructivist classrooms lag behind those in more traditional classrooms in basic skills.
Constructivists counter that in studies where children were compared on higher-order thinking skills, constructivist students seemed to outperform their peers. Here the benefits of constructivism:
Ä Children learn more, and enjoy learning more when they are actively involved, rather than passive listeners.
Ä Education works best when it concentrates on thinking and understanding, rather than on rote memorization. Constructivism concentrates on learning how to think and understand.
Ä Constructivist learning is transferable. In constructivist classrooms, students create organizing principles that they can take with them to other learning settings.
Ä Constructivism gives students ownership of what they learn, since learning is based on students’ questions and explorations, and often the students have a hand in designing the assessments as well.
Ä Constructivist assessment engages the students’ initiatives and personal investments in their journals, research reports, physical models, and artistic representations.
Ä Engaging the creative instincts develops students’ abilities to express knowledge through a variety of ways. The students are also more likely to retain and transfer the new knowledge to real life.
Ä By grounding learning activities in an authentic, real-world context, constructivism stimulates and engages students. Students in constructivist classrooms learn to question things and to apply their natural curiousity to the world.
Ä Constructivism promotes social and communication skills by creating a classroom environment that emphasizes collaboration and exchange of ideas.
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Cognitivism is the study in psychology that focuses on mental processes, including how people perceive, think, remember, learn, solve problems, and direct their attention to one stimulus rather than another. Psychologists working from a cognitive perspective, then, seek to understand cognition. Rooted in Gestalt psychology and the work of Jean Piaget, cognitivism has been prominent in psychology since the 1960s; it contrasts with behaviorism, where psychologists concentrate their studies on observable behavior. Contemporary research often links cognitivism to the view that people process information as computers do, according to specific rules; in this way, it is related to studies in artificial intelligence. In addition, cognitivism has influenced education, as studies of how people learn potentially sheds light on how to teach most effectively.
As an psychology of learning which point out human cognition or intelligence as a special gift to form hypotheses and develop intellectually (Cognitivism), it is also known as cognitive development. The underlying concepts of cognitivism involve how to think and gain knowledge. Cognitivism involves examining learning, memory, problem solving skills, and intelligence. Cognitive theorists may want to understand how problem solving changes throughout childhood, how cultural differences affect the way to view on own academic achievements, language development, and much more.
Revolution of cognitive in psychology is to response to Behaviorism. Behaviorism was dominantly in schools at that time. This school was influenced by Ivan Pavlov, B.F. Skinner, and other physiologists. They proposed that psychology could only become an objective science if it is based on observable behavior in test subjects. Since mental events are not publicly observable, behaviourist psychologists avoided description of mental processes or the mind in their literature.
Cognitive Psychology focuses on the study of how people think, understand, and know. They underline on learning how people realize and indicate the outside world within them and how to think about influence the behavior.
The interesting of cognitive psychologists as central issues includes the internal mechanism of human opinion and the understanding processes. Cognitive psychologists have tried to find out the answers to mental structures, such as what is supplied and how it is supplied, and to mental processes concerning how to operate the combination and information recovery. The theoretical assumptions in cognitive psychology gives instructional systems in the efficient processing design strategies for the learners to acquire knowledge, for example: mnemonic methods to reduce the workload of the short-term memory, rehearsal strategies to maintain information, and the metaphors used and analogies to relate meaning from new information to prior knowledge.
Many ideas and hypothesis of cognitivism can be found back to the early decades of the twentieth century. Of all theories, Jean Piaget’s theories from Switzerland are the ones that have provided psychology with much developmental changes in cognitive abilities.
Cognitive structuralism was founded by Jean Piaget(1896-1980) and other cognitive psychologists. Where social constructivism was founded by Vygotsky(1896-1934). There are several opinions related to cognitive structuralism according to psychologists
Jean Piaget was one of the most influential cognitive psychologists. He was a student of biology and zoology and he learnt that survival needs adaptation. So, he analysed the development of human cognition, or intelligence, as the continual struggle of a very complex organism trying to adapt in a very complex environment. Agreement to Piaget´s theory, human development can be outlined in terms of functions and cognitive structures. The functions are inborn biological processes that are identical for everyone, and stay unchanged the whole time of our lives. The purpose of these functions is to construct internal cognitive structures. The structures change repeatedly as the child grows.
Piaget stressed on two main functions. The first is organisation (or equilibrium). Organisation mentions the fact that all cognitive structures are connected and any new knowledge must be fitted into the existing system. It is the need to combine the new information, rather than adding them on, that strength of cognitive structure to become more elaborate.
- The first stage is the sensorimotor, (0-2year). Until about four months of age, the babies or children can’t differentiate themselves from the environment. Step by step, they learn to differentiate people from objects by their perception. Sensorimotor is learnt the children by touching object, manipulating them and exploring the environment physically. By the end of this stage the children understand that its environment has differentiated.
- The next stage is called the pre-operational (2years-7years). This is the stage when the children gain a mastery of a language and become able to use words to represent objects and images in a symbolic fashion. Piaget labelled this stage pre-operational because children are not yet able to use their developing mental capabilities systematically. At this stage children are egocentric, which means that the children have the movement to understand the world exclusively with its own position. The children have not understood yet, for an example, that others see things and objects from a different perspective from their own. During this phase of development the children have no general understanding of categories of thought that adults take for granted, ideas such as fundamental, speed, weight or number.
- The third stage is the concrete operational period (7years-11years). During this period, children are mastery of abstract or logical concept. They can handle ideas such as causality without much difficulty, and they are fit to bring the mathematical operations of multiplying, dividing and subtracting. By this stage children are much less egocentric.
- The fourth stage is called the formal operational period (11+). During teens, the developing children become able to understand abstract and hypothetical concepts highly. When faced with a problem, children at this stage should be able to review all possible ways to solve the problem and go finishing them in order to reach a solution theoretically.
According to Piaget, the first three stages of development are general, but not all adults come to the formal operational stage. The development of formal operational concept replaces in part on the process of schooling.
Another psychologist, Lev Vygotsky, had another view on cognitive development. He believed that learning was delivered from generation to generation. That it was a result of guided social interactions in which children did with their peers and a mentor to solve problems. And cognitive development could only be understood if children took cultural and social context into account. He believed that children were unable to think until they knew and understood a language. Vygotsky came up with the Zone of Proximal Development or ZPD, which he labeled the difference between the developmental level of a child and it’s could reach with the right amount of guidance. He called this guidance Scaffolding. And he believed that teachers should bring up learning, independence, and growth among students.
IN CLASSROOM PRACTICALITY
In a classroom environment, there are many variables that influence and contribute to learning. When creating and implementing a learning environment, it is very important that the teachers not only create a setting that promotes learning, but also take the time to understand each child.
Classrooms are widely various and complex behavior or characteristics each student. Students learn and accept the knowledge differently each other at various developmental levels. Teachers who properly manage their classrooms and set up the expectations will be able to add in different teaching philosophies and to create an excellent learning environment for each student. It is important that teachers create a learning environment that support students to do their best and makes learning interesting. This creates a motivational climate within the classroom.
There are two factors that are critical to motivate students, value and effort. In Classroom Management, Students must understand the work that they are performing is worthwhile. Value measures the importance of a student’s work to himself and others. Effort is the quantity of time and energy of the students to put into their work. Understanding the value of academic tasks and the effort needed to complete those tasks. It can motivate students to perform better in the classroom environment of classroom management.
Examples of Cognitive Games in the Classroom
Cognitive games are designed to help stimulate, influence cognitive learning, reflexes, learn different patterns of association, promote critical thinking to the brain. Those are helpful when used to learn a foreign language and memorize new material. Various learning techniques are used in the classroom because there are various learning styles. Examples of cognitive games include:
- Educational Websites and Computer Games
- Flash Cards
- Board Games
Berryman, S. E. 2012. Designing Effective Learning Environments: Cognitive Apprenticeship Models. Available at: http://www.innovativelearning.com/educational psychology /cognitivism/index.htm. [online at 10/18/2012]
Suharno. 2012. Cognitivism and Its Implication in the Second Language Learning. Available at http://staff.undip.ac.id/sastra/suharno/2009/07/21/cognitivism-and-its-implication-in-the-second-language-learning/. [online at 10/18/2012]
http://www.ece.uvic.ca/~aalbu/seng 412 readings/cognitive theory and design solutions.pdf
In teaching and learning a foreign language, vocabulary usually plays an important role. Vocabulary has not been taught in a particular subject for students to learn, but it has been taught within lessons of speaking, listening, reading and writing. During the lesson, students’ use their own vocabulary and they are set up to new words that given firstly by the teacher and classmates which they apply to classroom activities. If the teacher explains for meaning or definition, pronunciation, spelling and grammatical functions every day, it may be boring classroom activity. Students only think of vocabulary learning is to know the basic meaning of new words. And they become ejecting all other functions of the words. So, the teacher must change their teaching technique to be enjoyable learning. For example is teaching vocabulary using games. To assess the effectiveness of learning vocabulary using games in the classroom, and want to know how students’ experiences help with their learning and what progress they gain. Specifically, if apply games as an effective means to make students feel more comfortable and interested in learning the subject of vocabulary. The plan includes conducting different kinds of games in the lessons so that we could see how students reacted to this method of learning vocabulary. The teacher also wants to find if there are any problems that faced during the process of teaching. Furthermore, experienced teachers also help the researcher to work out different ways of conducting effective vocabulary games by their lesson plans, handouts for games and their helpful advice. Games have advantages and effectiveness in various ways of learning vocabulary. Such as relaxation, fun and memorize new words more easily. Then, games usually keep students’ interest, create the motivation, bring real world context into the classroom, and enhance students’ use of English in a flexible, communicative way. Learning vocabulary through games is one effective and interesting way that can be applied in any classrooms. The results of this research suggest that games are used not only for mere fun, but also for the useful practice and review of language lessons, as a result leading toward the goal of improving students’ communicative competence.
Huyen, Nguyen Thi Thanh and Khuat Thi Thu Nga. 2003. LEARNING VOCABULARY THROUGH GAMES- The Effectiveness of Learning Vocabulary Through Games. The Asian EFL Journal Volume 5 Issue 4. Available at: http://www.asian-efl-journal.com/dec_03_st.pdf [access at 03/09/2012].