Nursing educators need to continue to explore ways that new pedagogies such as narrative pedagogy and reflective practice inform and extend students' thinking in classroom and clinical situations. The goal of instruction becomes creating an opportunity for learning that integrates content knowledge with knowledge of the context. Educational methodologies that incorporate the use of context in a reflective, dialogical approach over time hold much promise in developing a dynamic process of thinking in practice. Contextual learning is a reflective learning intervention that offers new possibilities for nurse educators to prepare nurses to think critically in practice. In this expository paper the design and instructional methodology of contextual learning is discussed, beginning with a brief overview of the nature of critical thinking and the use of narrative as major underpinnings in the development of this intervention. Examples of how the intervention was implemented with novice nurses in practice is provided. Finally, reflections on how the intervention could be refined for nursing students is offered.
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