Beginnings of interdisciplinary approach.
“Interdisciplinarity is excellent if it is firmly rootedin disciplinarity. Each subject is not an end in itself but it must be an efficient tool. We must keep its identity and especially its own methodology. Only on that basis will we be able to construct a serious interdisciplinarity. Otherwise we will lead our students to mental confusion and superficial surveys.”
Renaud, 1989 (DG 1977-1983)
“Interdisciplinary understanding refers to the ability to integrate knowledge and modes of thinking from two or more disciplines to generate a new insight’... new understanding’ …‘it does not replace disciplinary teaching, rather it builds on it..”
Veronica BoixMansilla, Harvard Project Zero
Meaningful interdisciplinary teaching and learning experiences can have positive effects on students, teachers and learning environments. Interdisciplinary teaching and learning offers:
• place inquiry within broader global contexts
• enrich student understanding of topics, artefacts or problems that they, their teachers, schools and
communities find compelling
• respond to a clear aim for which perspectives must be brought together (solve a problem, create a product, build an explanation, address a need
Students exhibit interdisciplinary understanding when they:
• apply knowledge, concepts, findings, strategies, tools, methods of inquiry, ways of knowing, or forms of
communication in specific disciplines (as framed in subject-group objectives)
• employ disciplinary understanding that moves towards the sophistication of subject matter experts (avoiding
misconceptions or oversimplifications).
Interdisciplinary learning requires that :
The aims of the teaching and study of interdisciplinary units are to encourage students to:
• develop a deeper understanding of learning skills and apply them in meaningful contexts
• integrate conceptual learning, ways of knowing, and methods of inquiring from multiple disciplines
• inquire into challenging issues, ideas and challenges by creating products or explaining phenomena
• reflect on and communicate understanding of the interdisciplinary learning process
• experience the excitement of intellectual discovery—including insights into how disciplines complement and
challenge one another.
A) Disciplinary grounding : In interdisciplinary units, disciplinary understanding is explicitly taught and assessed. Students must understand concepts and skills of the selected disciplines—as framed in subject-group objectives. This disciplinary grounding provides the foundation for interdisciplinary understanding.
B ) Synthesizing : Through the development of holistic learning students will integrate knowledge from more than one discipline in ways that inform inquiry into relevant ideas, issues and challenges. Students demonstrate the integration of factual, conceptual and procedural knowledge from more than one discipline in order to explain phenomena or create products.
C) Communicating : Interdisciplinary learning helps to prepare students for communicating understandings across areas of expertise. By selecting, integrating or innovating communication forms and strategies, students describe and explain the
results of their inquiries. Students develop the capacity to communicate effectively and responsibly with a range of audiences.
D) Reflecting : When undertaking units of interdisciplinary learning, students will engage in a process of ongoing reflection and evaluation of the role of disciplines, weighing their relative contributions and assessing their strengths and limitations in specific interdisciplinary applications. Students will also explore various areas of knowledge and ways of knowing, considering their own ability to construct understanding across disciplinary boundaries.
What topics are worth teaching
in an interdisciplinary way?
What disciplinary tools will students need?
How will disciplines come together ?
purposeful, disciplined, integrative
What will students do to learn?
How do we know students are understanding?
Because it helps students to:
Back to our roots:
“Interdisciplinarity is excellent if it is firmly rooted in disciplinarity. Each subject is not an end in itself but it must be an efficient tool. We must keep its identity and especially its own methodology. Only on that basis will we be able to construct a serious interdisciplinarity. Other wise we will lead our students to mental confusion and superficial surveys.”
Renaud, 1989 (DG 1977-1983)
Entering through content that invites the integration of multiple disciplines