Thursday, October 8, 2009

Context Clues

As an English teacher, it's no surprise that I teach students about context clues. Of course, I teach high school students who have never heard of context clues but that's another story. For today's blog, I would like to talk about context clues in a whole other context. If we can figure out what a word means by its surroundings, why can't we shed some light on ourselves in a similar fashion? Here's an example. Staring straight into my mind's eye all the time drains every ounce of energy from me most days. But if I change the context in which I see myself, my perspective shifts dramatically and my energy can be refreshed. While walking down a sidewalk that's part of a city block that's part of a city with a horizon and wide open sky just beyond it, who the hell wants to be cooped up inside their skull?! When I gaze up, then around, and eventually remind myself of the sky's omnipresence and how it will always give way to infinity, I am no longer "stewing in my own juices" so to speak. I avoid being "pickled". My new context may make me infinitesimally small but it also makes me part of said infinity. That's not bad for a walk to the corner store and a scrumptious BLT on a roll.

1 comment:

  1. I value context clues instruction and practice to enable students to problem-solve the meanings of unknown words and to increase their vocabularies. However, over-reliance on context clues for word attack (pronunciation) can hamstring developmental readers. This being said, by way of introduction, here is a great Pictionary® game ( that reinforces practice in applying the five main context clue strategies and while refining and reviewing vocabulary. Great review for upcoming vocabulary tests! Want more free vocabulary review games? But wait; there's still more.