"Dr. Johnson's book is far more than a how-to guide for constructing meaningful learning activities for students. It is the definitive treatise on the fundamental concepts of acquiring and transferring knowledge. This is an invaluable contribution."
Arlene H. Parisot, Director of Workforce Department
Office of Commissioner of Higher Education
Montana State System
"This is a 'must' read for all teachers and administrators in their search for meaning. Elaine Johnson has artfully captured the essence of the 'best practices' conversation taking place in schools today by speaking directly to the heart of classroom experience."
Stephen Olczak, Principal
Reynolds High School
Contextual teaching and learning (CTL) is a system for teaching that is grounded in brain research. Brain research indicates that we learn best when we see meaning in new tasks and material, and we discover meaning when we are able to connect new information with our existing knowledge and experiences. Students learn best, according to neuroscience, when they can connect the content of academic lessons with the context of their own daily lives.
Johnson discusses the elements of the brain-compatible contextual teaching and learning system: making meaningful connections; investing school work with significance; self-regulated learning; collaboration; critical and creating thinking; nurturing the individual; reaching high standards; and using authentic assessment. Drawing on the practices of teachers in kindergarten through university, Johnson provides numerous examples of how to use each part of the CTL system.
Contextual Teaching and Learning: What it Is and Why It's Here to Stay is more than a handbook on precise steps to follow to help children of all abilities achieve high standards by joining academic lessons with their immediate context. This book also explains how the brain works, discusses why teachers need to pay attention to context, and makes a strong case for the need to teach students to think critically and creatively. This inspirational book urges educators to eliminate the student question: "Why do we have to learn this?" If the educators invest learning with meaning by relying on context, that question won't have to be asked.