Contextual Teaching and Learning (CTL) is defined as a way to introduce content using a variety of active learning techniques designed to help students connect what they already know to what they are expected to learn, and to construct new knowledge from the analysis and synthesis of this learning process. A theoretical basis for CTL is outlined, with a focus on Connection, Constructivist, and Active Learning theories. A summary of brain activity during the learning process illustrates the physiological changes and connections that occur during educational activities. Three types of learning scenarios (project-based, goal-based, and inquiry-oriented) are presented to illustrate how CTL can be applied by practitioners.
Contextual, connections, constructivist, active learning, brain research, scenarios
The current tendency returns to the idea that children will learn better if the environment is created naturally. Learning will be more meaningful if the child has what he had learned, and does not know it. Oriented learning mastery proved successful in the short term reminds the competition but failed to equip the child to solve problems in the long-term life
Contextual approach (Contextual Teaching and Learning / CTL) is a concept which helps teachers learns to associate between the materials taught with real-world situations of students and encourage students to make connections between the knowledge possessed by its application in their lives as family members and the community. With that concept, it is expected learning outcomes more meaningful for students. Do naturally, learning process in the form of activities and student work experience, not a transfer of knowledge from teacher to student. Learning strategy is more overlooked than the results.
Contextual instruction has traditionally been used in career and technical classes, and the value of such instructional methods in these courses has been demonstrated by hands-on experience in a shop or laboratory. On the other hand, when contextual instructional methods have been used in academic classes, it has historically been in low-expectation courses with peripheral references to career and technical applications--that is, courses for low-achieving and/or low-ability students. Contextual instruction uses instructional method.
Contextual classroom, teachers' job is to help students achieve their goals. That is, teachers deal more with strategy than giving information. Teachers manage classroom tasks as a team working together to find something new for the members of the class (students). Something new comes from finding yourself instead of what the teacher's role. That is managed classroom contextual approach. Contextual instruction is suitable to be applied in Indonesia.
1. Contextual Instruction (CTL)
Contextual instruction is commonly known as CTL (Contextual Teaching and Learning). Contextual Instruction (Contextual Teaching and learning) is the concept of learning that help teachers link between the materials taught to the students real-world situations and encourage students to make connections between the knowledge possessed by its application in their lives every day. Contextual instruction is suitable applied in Indonesian Education. Contextual instruction is a concept of study which help teacher to correlate material and the real situation. Contextual instruction help students apply the knowledge they have in their daily life. The instruction occurs naturally. Strategy of the study is more important than the result of the study.
In contextual instruction, teacher is a guide of the students. Most of teacher’s job in a contextual class is relate with the strategy. Teacher helps and guides the students to find another new thing based on the students’ discussion. By learning subjects in an integrated, multidisciplinary manner and in appropriate contexts, they students are able to use the acquired knowledge and skills in applicable contexts”. The ideal connection process would be three-fold: (1) students review what they already know related to the new concept; (2) they learn about and practice the new concept; and (3) they tie what they have learned to a real life scenario. The core of contextual instruction is students’ center.
So, it can be concluded that contextual instruction are:
1. A holistic educational process to motivate the students in understanding the material and correlate it in the daily life (personal context, social context and cultural context) so the students have knowledge and skill. These knowledge and skill can be applied (transferred) from a context to other context.
2. A learning concept to help teacher correlate the material given with the real situation and to push the students to make the relationship between material given and the application in their daily life as the member of a family and society.
Contextual instruction has some special characteristics which differ from the other method. Characteristics of Contextual Based Learning (CTL), among others are:
b. Mutual support
d. Not boring
e. Learning with passion
f. Integrated Learning
g. Using a variety of sources
h. Active Students
i. Sharing with friends
j. Student critical, creative teachers
k. Classroom walls and hallways filled with students' work, maps, pictures, articles, humor, etc
l. Reports to parents not only report cards, but the students' work, lab reports, essays, etc. students.
According Rachmadiarti (2002) a process of learning and teaching can be said oriented Contextual Teaching and Learning (CTL) when has seven pillars, namely:
(1) The process of moving from observation to understanding.
(2) Students learn to use critical thinking skills.
b. Ask (Questioning)
(1) Activities teachers to encourage guide and assess students' thinking abilities.
(2) For students who are an important part in inquiry-based learning
c. Constructivism (constructivism)
(1) Build their understanding of new experiences, based on prior knowledge.
(2) Learning must be packed into the process of "constructing" is not receiving knowledge
d. Learning community
(1) A group of people who engage in learning activities.
(2) Cooperating with others is better than learning itself.
(3) Exchange of experience.
(4) Sharing ideas
e. Authentic assessment
(1) Measuring student knowledge and skills.
(2) Assessment of products (performance).
(3) Tasks that are relevant and contextual
(1) How to think about what we have learned.
(2) Record what has been learned.
(3) Keep a journal, art, discussion groups
(1) The process looks an example for others to think, work and study
(2) Do what the teacher wants students to do
2. Contextual Instruction And Traditional Instruction
The difference from model to model learning contextual traditional learning as much, but if we associate with learning-oriented activities, creativity, fun atmosphere, and active student learning, the contextual learning model certainly the most appropriate use. Contextual instruction is very different with traditional or conventional instruction. Contextual instructions are:
a. Rely on understanding the meaning.
b. The selection of information based on the needs of students.
c. Students are actively involved in the learning process.
d. Learning linked to real life / problems that were simulated.
e. Always link the information with the knowledge that has been owned by students.
f. Tend to integrate several fields.
g. Students spend time learning to discover, explore, discuss, think critically, or work on projects and solving problems (through working groups).
h. Behavior is built on self-awareness.
i. The skills developed on the basis of understanding.
j. Gift of good behavior is self-satisfaction which are subjective.
k. Students not doing a bad thing because it realized it hurt.
l. Good behavior based on intrinsic motivation.
m. Learning occurs in many places, contexts and settings.
n. Measurable learning outcomes through the implementation of authentic assessment.
While traditional or conventional instruction are:
a. Rested on recitation
b. Electoral more information determined by the teacher.
c. Students passively receive information, especially from teachers.
d. Learning is very abstract and theoretical; do not rely on the reality of life.
e. Provide information to the students stack up to the time required.
f. Tend to focus on one field (discipline) specific.
g. When the majority of students used to do book work, hear lectures, and complete exercises (individual work).
h. Behavior is built on habits.
i. The skills developed on the basis of the exercise.
j. Gift of good behavior is to praise or grades.
k. Students do not do anything bad for fear of punishment.
l. Good behavior based on intrinsic motivation.
m. Learning occurs only happens in the classroom.
n. Learning outcomes measured through academic activities in the form of test / examination / test.
3. CTL in Practice
While the relevancy of contextual teaching and learning has been thoroughly researched, the country’s population has become more diverse and educators are faced with the challenge of designing a curriculum that meets the needs of all different types of people. According to
Blanchard, CTL strategies that may help to meet each learner's distinct needs include:
a. Emphasize problem solving
b. Recognize the need for teaching and learning to occur in a variety of contexts such as home, community, and work sites
c. Teach students to monitor and direct their own learning so they become self regulated learners
d. Anchor teaching in students’ diverse life-contexts
e. Encourage students to learn from each other and together
f. Employ authentic assessment.
Today, education systems risk imposing educational strategies that do not meet the individual needs of the students. The inherent danger of advocating a particular approach to instruction is the possible misconception that readers might assume that this approach is now "the" approach to use. Tennyson refers to the "situation of advocating a relatively simple solution to a complex problem" as the "big wrench approach to problem solving". The three approaches that will be discussed here are not being recommended as the "big wrench"; rather, they will be introduced and suggested for the value they may offer to practitioners who are in the process of evaluating techniques that might work for them and their students.
Helping students construct their own knowledge can be accomplished by guiding them through scenarios where they are required to actively explore the content in order to reach a goal, solve a problem, complete a project, or answer a question. This is a shift away from the traditional, or classical, classroom where the professor imparts knowledge and students receive it; and more toward the direction of student-centered, and even self-directed learning. The following scenario examples (goal based, project-based, and inquiry-oriented) offer ideas for incorporating CTL in the classroom:
a. Goal-Based Scenarios
Schank, Berman, & Macpherson's Goal-Based Scenario (GBS) design is based on the foundation that "the best way to teach is to place students in situations in which the goals they wish to achieve require the acquisition of the knowledge and skills you wish to impart". Components of a GBS include:
(1) The learning goals. These fall into two categories: Process knowledge and content knowledge, focusing on the skill set students need to practice and content knowledge they need to find
(2) The mission. A realistic goal that the student will relate to, and that will require the skills and knowledge stated in the learning goals, is chosen
(3) The cover story. A scenario or background story that allows opportunities for the student to practice the skills and seek the knowledge stated in the learning goals is created
(4) The role. A role that is truly motivating to the student and that helps the student practice the necessary skills is selected
(5) The scenario operations. Is comprised of all activities the student does in order to work toward the mission and the learning goals. Examples include: asking experts for opinions relevant to completing the report, compiling information for future reference, making claims about strategies, and backing up claims from the information compiled
(6) Resources. Feedback can be given in any of three ways: through consequence of actions, coaching, or domain experts telling stories that pertain to similar experiences.
b. Project-Based Scenarios
Lenschow points out, "Project-based learning (PBL) is winning ground in industry and at a slower rate in universities and colleges" and is "pedagogically based on constructivist learning in a setting represented by Kolb's learning cycle". Van Kotze and Cooper believe that PBL "seems to open up possibilities for our students to draw on their prior expertise and knowledge (nurtured in collective struggle), and to build on their experience gathered at their different sites of practice and learning" and that it allows them to "construct new knowledge that is action-oriented and socially relevant, while at the same time gaining academic recognition and accreditation". Van Kotze and Cooper share their version of PBL: (1) Students select a topic and form groups
(2) They plan their project and present plans to each other
(3) They have weekly meetings where they report on work done, discuss their learning, and plan the next week
(4) The prepare and conduct an "agonic moment" where the outcome of the project is presented to the commissioning organization
(5) They prepare a comprehensive report on the project (both content and process) and participate in a collective evaluation process, involving all students in the group and relevant academic staff. .
c. Inquiry-Oriented Scenarios
Bevevino, Dengel, and Adam's inquiry-oriented approach is based on Piaget's cognitive development principles. It puts students into situations "that demand critical thinking and encourage the internalizing of major concepts" and also gives them "the opportunity to express, confront, and analyze preconceptions and misconceptions in an active, non-threatening way".
Bevevino et al. describe their approach:
(1) Phase 1 Exploration. Requires students to use prior knowledge and experience to solve a problem or series of problems presented in a simulation or game that examines the concepts to be developed throughout the learning cycle
(2) Phase 2 Discussions and Presentation of New Content. In this phase, the students share their proposed solutions, describe conflicts they experienced and strategies they used to gain consensus, and the teacher introduces new content relative to the issue. During the discussion, the whole class scrutinizes each solution according to logic and mutual benefits tests
(3) Application and Expansion. Requires the students to apply the knowledge, skills, and insights acquired in Phases 1 and 2 to a new situation or to creatively extend their knowledge into new areas of exploration. Each group develops its alternative solutions to a new problem, and the learning cycle ends with the whole class coming to a consensus as to the best solutions offered.
Scenario learning offers students opportunities to actively engage in constructing their own knowledge. They may have varying degrees of input into developing the scenarios, or selecting content; but as they work through the problem-solving steps, they are learning the content and also developing ownership of their own learning process. Creating scenario learning experiences can be time consuming, and this technique may be viewed by some as adding more work to already over-worked teachers; however, more and more resources are becoming available, particularly on the Internet, with libraries of prepared scenarios to choose from.
CTL has become imperative for us to do so and give the advantages possessed, a far left-centered learning teacher. For that, a willingness to try and do the innovation of teaching practices that we do need to continue to be cultivated. We all talk self-evaluation, let's start trying to evaluate our learning practices have been embraced, seeing the pros and cons, and from it we make improvements. Hopefully this short paper can be an inspiration for us all to improve the quality of learning that we do, in order to join efforts to support improvement of the quality of our education.
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