Firstly, a practitioner enquiry (PE) is a process which relies on engagement in deep reflection that leads to sustained action research (Baumfield, Hall and Wall, 2013). Evidence should be gathered and analysed, learning reflected upon and then the results of the PE shared (Kelly, 2013). Thus, it is evident that PE is robust, planned and purposeful action research.
Conducting this practitioner enquiry has been a collaborative process. Through discussion with other professionals we chose an investigation that was relevant across many classrooms including our own. The question was founded on the concept of skills for work and also learner’s attitudes towards specific subjects. We wanted to find out if making learning experiences more relevant through contexts and through teaching skills explicitly would change attitudes towards a subject area. Within my own classroom a subject that many seem to have a negative attitude towards is maths. I experience children saying they are not good at maths, they cannot do it or that it is pointless. Therefore, I set out to make the purpose of each learning experience explicit and relevant to the learners.
There is a variety of literature and research that supports the use of real-life contexts in the curriculum. In a study conducted by Moss (2016) she discovered that through linking her literature directly to the lives of the learners in her class she experienced the result of students realising that literature can mirror their own lives. Verschaffel, Greer, and De Corte (2000) define real-life contexts or situations as textual contexts that are relevant to the reader and Earnest (2003) emphasises that the interests of a learner are as important to take into consideration as an experts opinion or curriculum requirements.
The aims of this enquiry were to:
- Investigate the impact of linking real-life contexts to learning.
- Investigate the impact on learner engagement within maths.