Aims • To recognise the nature of interdisciplinary learning and its key features. • To recognise potential benefits of interdisciplinary learning. • To consider how interdisciplinary learning might be developed in the school. • To agree action that would result in increased interdisciplinary learning.
Activity 2: Group discussion • What do you understand by the term ‘interdisciplinary learning’? • What are some of the features of interdisciplinary learning? • Is there a project you have been involved in that illustrates effective interdisciplinary or cross-curricular learning? What subjects or departments were involved? How was it planned? What were the outcomes for pupils?
Activity 3: Interdisciplinary learning - video Questions • What are the main arguments for interdisciplinary learning as presented in this film? • To what extent do you agree or disagree with these views?
Activity 3: Summary of key points • Traditionally, the Scottish education system has been built around discrete subject areas or specialisms. Historically, the opportunities to integrate knowledge, skills and understanding have been very limited. • The world that young people will enter on leaving school is interdisciplinary. They need to be able to make connections and synthesise knowledge and understanding. Our current education system does not foster these skills in young people well.
Activity 3: Summary of key points (continued) • Interdisciplinary learning enables children to transfer knowledge and skills across different subject areas. It encourages learners to apply knowledge gained in one department to a different subject area. • Interdisciplinary approaches joins up the learning for young people and broadens their understanding of the world. It often helps them apply their knowledge and understanding within real-life contexts.
Activity 3: Summary of key points (continued) • Major topics or issues such as environmental education or citizenship are better experienced through interdisciplinary learning, rather than in separate subject departments. • Children and young people generally find interdisciplinary learning contexts more motivating, engaging and meaningful.
Activity 4: Secondary schools - video Questions • What are the main messages about interdisciplinary learning that arise from this film? • To what extent do you agree or disagree with these views? • To what extent do you agree that core skills such as literacy and numeracy are the responsibility of all teachers?
Activity 4: Key points • In schools, interdisciplinary learning is based upon groupings of experiences and outcomes from within and across curriculum areas. • In secondary schools, learners frequently experience the same curricular content in different subject departments (ie duplication). • Some learning is not subject specific, but can be delivered across a number of different curricular areas. • Interdisciplinary learning enables students to see the relevance of subject specific knowledge within a wider context.
Activity 4: Key points (continued) • Revisiting a concept or skill from different perspectives deepens understanding and can also make the curriculum more coherent and meaningful for the learner. • Interdisciplinary learning often means departments coming together to plan and deliver a project based on a single unifying theme. • Interdisciplinary learning can involve several departments and even a whole school, but it can also mean collaboration between as few as two subject areas.
Activity 4: Key points (continued) • Interdisciplinary learning provides opportunities for departments to share best practice and learn from colleagues. • Developing core skills in young people such as literacy and numeracy is the responsibility of all teachers.
Activity 5: Illustrative videos • What was the nature or context for interdisciplinary learning in this school or project? • How did the school implement this particular project or topic? Which departments were involved? How was it organised? • What were the outcomes of the project? • What might our school learn from this example of interdisciplinary learning?
Activity 6: Self-evaluation • To what extent is interdisciplinary learning actively promoted and encouraged within our school? • To what extent do our students currently experience interdisciplinary learning as a result of inter-departmental working? • To what extent is overlap or duplication a feature of our school curriculum? • To what extent do we encourage departments to share teaching methodologies and best practice?
Activity 6: Self-evaluation (continued) • To what extent do we encourage and enable our students to apply subject knowledge and skills to wider contexts? • To what extent do we as subject teachers fulfill our role as teachers of core skills such as literacy and numeracy?
Activity 7: OpportunitiesThe task is to identify and explore possible contexts for joint working. This might mean, for example identifying: • topics or projects that might form the basis of inter-departmental collaboration • themes or curricular inserts that might be good candidates for interdisciplinary learning • transferrable knowledge and skills
Activity 7: Possible questions • What might be the nature of the project or curricular experience? • What could my department offer to such a project (eg, content, skills, resources, experience)? • Which experiences and outcomes might be applicable to this project (ie from the Curriculum for Excellence framework)? • How would such a project be planned and organised? • How might this project be delivered (eg, all teachers teaching the same components, or, subject specific input by specialist teachers?)
Activity 7: Possible questions (continued) • How might such a project be assessed in terms of pupil outcomes? • To what extent could the project offer rich and varied learning experiences (eg, active learning, experiential learning, collaborative learning, use of technology)? • What might be some of the barriers or constraints? • What might be some of the management issues? • What might be some of the potential benefits?