Maxine Tulloch


Our Lady's High Cumbernauld

  • Contextualised Learning

How will learner engagement be affected if I link learning to real life?


Current educational research suggests the best way of learning is authentic learning, inquiry based learning and experiental learning. These approaches focus on learning by doing: working out real life problems and finding solutions. This research has emerged from the work of John Dewey (1859-1952) Jean Piaget (1896-1980) and Lev Vygotsky (1896-1934).

John Dewey role in progressive education emphasised the need to learn by doing. He was a pragmatist that believed that children learn when they interact with their environments and actively are involved in the school curriculum.

The work of Jean Piaget (1986-1980) developed the constructivist approach that acknowledges learning is an active, constructive process. Learners are developing knowledge rather than acquiring it. Social Constructivism is built on the work of Piaget. Piaget saw a child as a ‘lone scientist’ (Pritchard, 2009:p30).

Vygotsky developed the social constructivist theory. The theory places importance on the social interaction between the learner and others, and that importance is given to language in the process of intellectual development. It is through this dialogue that ideas are acknowledged, shared and progressed (Pritchard, 2009)

What consolidates these theories is their intention to provide a guide to good teaching practice that will lead to growth in the knowledge of learners (Sotto, 1994).

Curriculum for Excellence (2017) calls for learners to be active in their learning, and to understand the importance of the skills they are developing to be successful in the twenty first century. As part of the wider achievement in schools, our role as teachers is to equip young people with skills, experiences and knowledge required to be successful in learning, life and work.

As part of my professional enquiry, I want to find out if linking coursework to real life experiences will have an effect on young people’s engagement in the classroom.


To find out how learners engagement will be affected if I link learning to real life situations during a drama lesson.

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