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Sharin Tebo

Creative Educator - Connecting Curricula for Deeper Understanding - 34 views

  • Most schools will say that they want students to have an understanding of their world as a whole, but they seldom look at topics with an interdisciplinary focus. Why? It is easy to find reasons why this disjointed approach to learning happens: · Some argue that there is so much content and so many skills to be learned  in each discipline that they don’t have time to integrate subjects. · Others say that the each discipline has a body of knowledge and skills that  should stand on its own and not be muddied by the intrusion of other disciplines. · Secondary educators say that there is insufficient common planning time  to combine their efforts to teach an interdisciplinary course. · Still others say that the whole system is geared toward separate subjects  and to break out of this would require a monumental effort. · Others are guided by “the tests,” which are presented by separate disciplines.
  • The ultimate goal for the study of any subject is to develop a deeper understanding of its content and skills so that students can engage in higher-level thinking and higher- level application of its principles. When students dig deeper and understand content across several disciplines, they will be better equipped to engage in substantive discussion and application of the topic. They will also be better able to see relationships across disciplines.
  • They organize students into interdisciplinary teams and coordinate lessons so that what happens in math, science, language arts, and social studies all tie to a common theme. Many times these teachers team-teach during larger blocks of time. Advocates of this more holistic approach to curriculum argue that it helps students:
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  • Of course, digging deeper doesn’t fit well in the time frame that most schools use. It takes time to link content across several disciplines, and it may be difficult to squeeze a learning activity into a 40-minute period. To change the method of learning will mean changing more than the curricula. The school structure, including the schedule and methodology will also need to change.
  • To prepare our students for an integrated world, we need to break out of the separate-discipline mentality and develop more holistic and problem/project-based approaches. Many have tried to do this, and it isn’t easy.
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    STEM and STEAM--challenge to aim for more integration cross-disciplines.
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