Theoretical Framework

Model of Contextual Teaching

Video: Using the Teaching Model in Authentic Contexts

This model of teaching promotes the development of professional reasoning by situating thelearner in authentic contexts and asking them to utilize higher order thinking as they endeavor to solve complex problems. Experience and reflection can 텍스트 상자:  be thought of as twin instructional dynamics (Schell, Schell & Unsworth, in press). To utilize the instructional power of these two dynamics, we have developed a circular model that graphically illustrates the intersection of learning and teaching. Our model is, in part, based on John Dewey’s point of “emancipation and enlargement of experience” (Jeffs & Smith, 2005, p. 2-3). For Dewey, and others, authentic experiences provide an excellent setting for interaction between student and teacher as a way: (a) to provide instruction and co-construction of knowledge, (b) for learners to articulate their constructed knowledge, and then (c) to reflect on that constructed knowledge as a way to make meaning. The circle is then completed as the learner reinterprets the content to be learned and the environment in light of more advanced perspective(s). This continuous cycle means additional opportunities to reengage in the learning cycle when the learner has obtained higher and higher levels of expertise. This brings about even greater levels of sophistication and insight as learners and teachers continue the leaning-teaching cycle.

In recent years this model has been applied to and tested in the Whale Class. The authentic experiences are the times Out There with the whales, but also when we are learning to be a naturalist on the whale watching boats. On several occasions whale class participants are asked to articulate their new knowledge. Reflection in this class is systematic and targeted to: (a) meaning-making, (b) development of solid rational and reasoning processes, and (c) improved professional practice.






John W. Schell
at jschell@uga.edu.

Judy Milton
at jmilton@uga.edu.

Cynde McInis
at cyndebierman@

Whale Class Blog








Model of

Themes &

Who Should

Brochure &


Gallery of
Video & Photos


We could have saved the Earth but we were too damned cheap.  ~Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.