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Interdisciplinary learning. I just don't get it.

Discussion in 'Trainee and student teachers' started by tboy, Apr 29, 2010.

  1. Hi,
    I'm up in Scotland following the Curriculum for Excellence. I'm on my final placement of the PGDE. The central focus for this placement is Interdisciplinary Learning. The more I try and get my head around it, the more I start to feel panicky as I realise I haven't a clue how to approach it. The input from Uni has been woeful- I really don't feel that I've been adequately prepared for this approach to learning. To compound the issue, none of the teachers in my placement school use it. I thought I had strung together a six-lesson interdisciplinary sequence looking at pollution, but it turns out what I have done is a cross-curricular approach instead, with discrete subjects being taught, linked together by the topic of pollution. This apparently isn't what is required. I cannot find anything in the literature that uni has given us, or indeed on the internet with explicit instructions on crafting an interdisciplinary sequence. I am going around in circles and feel like this could be the banana-skin that finally halts my progress. Any help or advice would be highly appreciated.
  2. Hi there,
    Sounds like you're on my course!lol. I feel the exact same as you, my tutors couldn't even explain the difference between interdisciplinary and cross curricular so I was further confused. My take on it is that you have an outcome for each subject that will be achieved throughout the sequence with a context for this learning ie. your topic on pollution. So as long as you have two subjects and learning outlined for both but with a similar context of pollution I would think that thats pretty spot on.
    A book I found said that interdisciplinary learning is the interaction of two disciplines applied to a single problem or context. It also says that cross curricular is where there are more disciplines involved and applied to a single experience. If that helps any!
    Hope that helps!
  3. emmat34

    emmat34 New commenter

    Hi there - the idea of interdisciplinary is that you teach a problem (eg pollution) and you bring the subjects (ehglish, history, geog) to the problem. You shouldn't know what lesson subject you are in. Anything else is just topic work (apparently). Our lecturers told us something about it. Hope it helps.
  4. Hi,

    From your description I can deduce that you are definitely on the same course as me! The guidance for this final part has been pretty shocking. Thanks to the others who posted helpful replies. I also think that if you have 3 progressive lessons in 2 curriculum areas which are connected to a common theme and result in a joint outcome then you are on the right track. Don't forget the outcome though - something which wasn't much emphasised in the very limited guidance we received, but something which my tutor said was very important at my crit. I am struggling to find much theory/reading online but I will post anything I do find here.
    Good luck!
  5. Don Skinner - Effective Teaching and Learning in Practice
  6. I am most definitely in the same course as well, preparing for the final presentation on interdisciplinary teaching. The LTS website for the CfE has some information on interdisciplinary learning. Just do a search. Also, http://jsavage.org.uk/?p=568 has proved to be rather helpful. Although geared more towards secondary teaching, it still relates well to primary teaching.

    Hope this helps.
  7. invincible

    invincible New commenter

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