EDU 6363: Language Arts, Social Studies, Art

EDU 6363: Language Arts- social Studies-Arts

What I Learned …

As I reflect on the readings and the lecture from this week I realize I find myself drawn to the idea of Interdisciplinary Studies.  While multidisciplinary studies and trans-disciplinary studies each have value and merit, I find myself considering the ways in which I will be able to adopt an interdisciplinary curriculum for my future classroom.  Dr. Scheuerman defined interdisciplinary curriculum integration as, “separate subjects with instruction around common themes and skills.”  (Scheuerman, 2012)  In a classroom that adopts interdisciplinary curriculum, students are encouraged to seek out and understand relationships between, and to, each academic discipline.  In order to accomplish interdisciplinary integration proper guidance by a teacher is a necessary component for greater academic understanding and deeper learning for the student.

I grew up in a time where multidisciplinary instruction was the preferred method.  It was rare that one subject, for example, science, had anything to do with art.  I found myself uninterested, disconnected and bored throughout most of my elementary and high school years.

I remember only a handful of teachers who took the time to connect ideas, build relationships between disciplines, and revisit theses commonalities often enough so that my understanding deepened.  To this day I can quickly recall a few of the lessons I learned where connections were made and strengthened.  So how does interdisciplinary curriculum make this any different for students?  How do we make interdisciplinary integration the preferred standard today?  According to, Why Should Schools Embrace Integrated Studies?: It Fosters a Way of Learning that Mimics Real Life, on edutopia.org, “ …our daily life and work are not stratified into “the math part, the science part, the history part and the English part.”  (Staff, 2008) Integrated teaching uses multiple academic disciplines, blends ideas and supports deeper personal connections for students.  By repeating and revisiting thematic ideas throughout lessons in many content areas, students have multiple opportunities to grapple with material.  The organic nature of interdisciplinary curriculum lends itself to repetition and brain imprinting.  “Brain research suggests the notion that learning increases when information is presented in meaningful connected patterns”. (Staff, 2008) Students that learn in an interdisciplinary classroom often have better cooperative strategies, are able to make more thoughtful decisions, have increased problem-solving skills and seem to be more personally connected to their education.  Additionally, students show more motivation and continued interest in their education than if they were taught each subject separately.

Learning more about interdisciplinary curriculum has strengthened my belief in the benefits for both student and teacher.  By developing curriculum that repeats and revisits themes, allows for integration of different academic disciplines, develops personal connections and depth of understanding, learning is improved.  I feel an immediate connection to this style of teaching for its practical application to “real-life” learning.  I imagine that more and more classrooms will begin to adopt this style of teaching as the preferred norm.

Works Cited:

Scheuerman, D. R. (2012). Integrated Studies Methods- Session 1: Ideas, Definitions, and Co-Teaching. EDU 6363. Seattle.

Staff, E. (2008, October 6). Edutopia.org. Retrieved January 6, 2012, from Edutopia: http://www.edutopia.org/integrated-studies-introduction

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