Contextualized Learning

Contextualized Learning in
Water and Wastewater
Treatment CTE
Michael Fritschi, PE, Grade V WWTPO
“Relating instructional content to the specific
contexts of students lives and interests
increases interest and motivation to learn”
(Dirkx and Prenger 97’)
Abstraction and
manipulation of symbols and
theory often lead to
de-contextualized learning.
Removing the “detachment”
of information from the real
world can be accomplished
by removing traditional
academic abstractions.
(Re-phrased from Resnick 87’)
 WAT-100 – Introduction to Water and
Wastewater Treatment
 WAT-180 – Analytical Methods in Water and
Wastewater Systems
Application Oriented (nuts/bolts):
 WAT-140 – Operation of Drinking Water
 WAT-160 – Operation of Wastewater Systems
Involves the student by combining Content
with Context using authentic industry
materials and standards.
Use real-life resources and scenarios for learning
Integrate existing skill sets into learning and
performing new skills
Providing and applying multiple alternatives for solving
Students gain understanding through the mechanical
process problem solving
 The
purpose of course material is
 The
transfer of knowledge is efficient and
immediately apparent.
 Student
interest is maintained.
 Inspiration
– Encouraging participation
 Presentation
– “Lively Lecture”
 Demonstration
– Mechanics
Intellectual process integrated with application
Decision making skills
 Culmination
– Class Projects and Internships
Encourage students to integrate their own
personal practical backgrounds.
Real World Job Flyers
Define skill sets and ranges of compensation
Lecture Discussions
Build on existing skill-sets
Small successes or mini-victories
Recognize these students publically
Keep it light – Keep it fun!
Relevant lecture topics.
Images of the subject matter in industry
Tie learning into “real-life”.
Cut sheets from equipment manufacturers
Drag equipment into the class room
Take less notes
Take a more active part in the lecture
Intonation of key phrases
Relate personal industry experience to the subject matter
“why do we do this?”
Keep the lecture “light” and energetic
Reiterate in different scenarios
Mechanical Application
Show interest
Key phrases or information
what students can expect in the industry
“most folks really do it this way”
Follow-up Quizzes
Question and Answer
Preparation for field trips
Allow a “background knowledge”
 Illustrate
the decision making process
 Analytical
analysis tied to concrete
 System
knowledge & Established goals.
 Fall
2009 & Spring 2010 WAT-180
Class statistics
65.2% of the students have not taken a math class
in over 10 years
 Of those students, 63.3% have not taken a math
class in over 20+ years.
 Water
and Wastewater Operations
requires alot of math!
“ Non-Hate able” Math Just need a “Y”
Applied math
Relate and accept discomfort
Low Theory – High practicality
Remove the anxiety by mechanical practice (repetition)
Find the Fun!!
Technical Apparatus
Calculator recommendation, low cost
Acceptable for certification exams
advanced enough for square roots, parenthesis,
exponent, pi button.
 Anecdotes
used for teaching math
“Mike’s rule”, “Ted’s method”
“Area = bore * bore *0.785”
454 g /LB = “454 Chevy Big Block”
 Dimensional
analysis – lifelong tool
Puts the power in the hands of the student
 Projects
–“apply what you have learned”
Summarization of learning experience
Ability to apply knowledge
 Internships
– “apply what you have learned in
the real world”
Ultimate Application of CTE
Students can relate their own experience
Bring their experience into the classroom
Students learn from supervisors and co-workers
 WAT-100
Basin Plan
 WAT-180
Process Analysis
140 & WAT 160 Water and Wastewater
State Exams
 Requires
student to arrange and visit a water
or wastewater treatment facility
 Requires
student to identify the primary
process components of the treatment facility
 How
the components of the treatment
facility function with each other process
 Requires
the student to pick one process
and evaluate
Process objective
 Inputs and outputs
 How the process is controlled
 What process data is relevant?
 Ramifications of the process in success and
Requires student to research the North Coast Basin
Student prepares a paper in their own words, that
discusses selected topics covered in the research.
The goal is to teach the student through their own
Student gains a basic understanding of relevant
information that directly impacts the water quality
 Prepare
and take State Certification Exams
 Encouraged
to join professional organizations
CWEA-California Water Environment Association
AWWA – American Water Works Association
Industry Conferences
Industry Specialized Training Sessions
 In-depth
“nuts and bolts” of operations
 Will
try to place every student locally that
has passed WAT-100 & WAT-180 Classes
 Designed
to get students experience in the
An additional dimension to the learning experience
 Provide
a basis for discussion in WAT-140 &
WAT-160 classes
Students respond best to applied
concepts rather than abstract ideas
 Apply
context to content through mechanical
 Utilize
Existing Skill-Sets
 Culmination
 Bring
in projects and internships
Industry Into the Classroom!