What are contextual factors in education?


Contextual factors are extraneous factors than affect students. Parental influence has an effect on how students work in the classroom, and local cultural values and norms can affect education as well. Many experts recommend considering contextual factors when teaching classes.

Many people, and many educators, act as if education functions in a vacuum unaffected by external factors. In reality, extra-scholastic factors have a profound effect on student performance and engagement. As a result, many educators are now encouraging teachers to learn about their students and find ways to connect with them.

Dealing with contextual factors can include tweaking educational material to appeal to students. History classes with a large number of students of Mexican descent, for example, might want to spend a bit more time discussing the history of Mexico. Similarly, a science teacher might want to point out famous Mexican and Mexican-American scientists. A bit of inspiration can lead to better student engagement.

Teachers might also need to consider socioeconomic factors. Students in poorer areas might have no choice but to work after school, and requiring too much homework might make it impossible for students to keep up. In addition, parents might not be able to provide extra help. Making accommodations for these factors can be difficult, but small changes can have a significant impact on student outcomes.

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