Basic Skills and Career Technical Education (CTE )-Contextualized Learning

Chair, Occupational Education Committee

I really hesitated about using this title for my article (I know, it looks pretty basic, but..) because I don't want to give the impression that this article is an all-encompassing article about contextualized learning and its value with basic skills and CTE programs and projects. It is just the starting point to describe some of the efforts that have been going forth on this important initiative.

The Academic Senate for California Community Colleges is working on a grant with the Bay Area Workforce Funding Collaborative, which focuses on contextualized curriculum for Career Technical Education and includes outreach, literature review, and professional development. Outreach has occurred already in a variety of forums-inclusion in the Academic Senate's Basic Skills Initiative in Newport Beach in August and a presentation at the Academic Senate/RP Group Strengthening Student Success conference in Anaheim in October (I was there and was encouraged by the work that is being done out in the field). Work has started with the professional development portion of the grant including two-day workshops (Pasadena in October and San Jose in November). These workshops addressed both the theory and practice of working with students with basic skills needs that all faculty can immediately apply to their classes. The multiple ways to integrate contextualized teaching and learning were discussed. The project will also be presenting at the Academic Senate's Vocational Education Leadership Institute in March 2009 (more on that will be included in my report about the Institute in the next issue of the Rostrum).

We faculty in the community colleges are blessed with a bounty of knowledgeable people to help with these important initiatives (I am privileged to be an acolyte, neophyte, participant and facilitator with them all). My hats off to some of the many people that have been involved in the planning, policy and presentation arenas-Lin Marelick, Barbara Illowsky, Linda Collins, Janet Fulks, Jessica Pitt, and Julie Adams.

Sources of Information

Basic Skills Initiative- (especially under Effective Practices, Partners in Success, and Resources)

Student Success (go to Proceedings/2008 Strengthening Student Success)