Contextual factors are facts or statistics that play into the way that classroom teaching is conducted. There are two types of contextual factors: the community in which students live and the school or classroom environment. Contextual factors change from classroom to classroom, and it is up to educators to identify them before planning upcoming lessons.
Through the observation of contextual factors, teachers are able to cater their teaching styles so that all of the students have the utmost capability for learning.
There are also school-wide factors that impact a child's ability to learn. Each school has its own unique culture and identity that usually does not transfer from school to school, and this factor can have a significant impact on teaching. A new teacher must quickly become familiar with the contextual factors of the individual school building as well as the school system.
Diversity within a classroom is another contextual factor that may have an effect on a teacher's lesson plans. Teachers must examine the race, religion, genders, interests and skill levels of students to plan lessons that reach all of their students in the class effectively.
Often, teachers and educators examine contextual factors by journaling and researching community and state databases.