Context-Concept Approach


There are some problems in science and education that can be solved by Context-Concept Approach (Co-Co) especially in mathematics, such as:

  1. Lack of relevance for students (all subjects) that lead to few students choose science and mathematics; The contexts demonstrate the application of concepts in meaningful situation that can increase motivation and the retention.
  2. Lack of coherence (in biology and chemistry) that lead to difficulties in relating and remembering concepts.
  3. Overload concepts (in Biology) that lead to superficial treatment of concepts.

Context can be classified as follows:

  • Every day life context such as sports, games, and music. (running)
  • Professional context such as patients care, chemical analysis of water. (couch or training)
  • Technical/applied context such as communication and technology. (research in designing shoes for runner athlete)
  • Scientific context such as fundamental research of matter. (research on physiology and athlete heartbeat)
  • Didactical context is related to addressing preconception, constructing knowledge, (to learn about the circulation for oxygen when we are doing something hard such as running, and when we are in relax such as sleeping or sitting).

Here are some advantages and disadvantages in using context:

Advantages of contexts:

  • Easier to remember, more coherence
  • Motivating to learn
  • Students’ ideas come to surface
  • Students learn to apply concepts
  • Students learn societal impact
  • Contexts indicate selection of concept

Disadvantages of contexts:

  • Choosing a context is not easy
  • The context may be not familiar to every students
  • More time needed
  • More language, concepts from the context
  • Life world concepts can differ from scientific concepts
  • Concepts remain linked to the context
  • Unclear what is learned
  • Realistic context sometimes to complex not all concepts fit in a context
  • Difficult to asses
  • Instead of giving re-contextualization (students can generalize the concept by giving another context) Students will think that the context is the only one application of the concept (de-contextualization).

Personal Application

Based n the previous problem about the Chromatography, I can conclude that in this teaching guideline the context used is crime detection and the concept that want to teach to students is chromatography. What I understand and should remember that in learning mathematics is that students do not only expect the concept but also the context. In designing the final project about “Drawing Quadratic Function”, I also think some important question to be considered in choosing a context for a learning activity:

  • Which is easier to generalise; a concepts learned without a context or a concept learn within one context?
  • Do generalised concepts exist?

Future Guideline

When doing a design, don’t forget to feel confident to say yes and give clear answer to answer these questions:

  • In what classification the context is or who use this context?
  • Does the context fit with your students’ ages and prior knowledge?
  • Does the context chosen help students in having a better understanding?
  • Does the context really help you in reaching the learning goal?
  • Is the context something that students know well? if no or something new, are you sure they can understand it?
  • Does the context help students in re-contextualization?
  • Each activity by using this context is clearly stated?
  • In your opinion, if someday you ask your students about the context, will they remember the concept?
  • Have you clearly decide, what should be assessed; the context or the concept?
  • Have you provide other contexts that also use the same concept in order to prevent the de-contextualization?

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