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Cross curricular teaching learning
Marţi, 08 Martie 2011 13:25

CROSS-CURRICULAR TEACHING AND LEARNING

 

Poenar Lorina Manuela - Profesor limba engleză

Colegiul Economic “Emanuil Gojdu” Hunedoara

 

 

               Nowadays the issue of cross-curricular teaching and learning  involves a conscious effort to apply concepts, theories, knowledge, principles or values to more than one academic discipline simultaneously. The disciplines may be related through a central topic or sometimes there are certain commonplaces to be found. Usually interdisciplinary methods work to create connections between traditional disciplines such as mathematics - sciences, social studies - history, English language - arts.

               Klein defines cross-curricular learning as “the synthesis of two or more disciplines, establishing a new level of discourse and integration of knowledge”. It is a process for achieving an integrative synthesis that often begins with a problem, question, or issue, but is could also be seen as a means of solving problems and answering complex questions that cannot be satisfactorily addressed using single disciplinary approaches. It is a fact that employers want college graduates who are prepared to meet the multidisciplinary needs of the work market, integrating what they have learned in disparate fields.  But there are obviously dynamic changes in knowledge construction, blurring disciplinary boundaries across fields, e.g. cultural studies.

               Schools can combine or adapt existing schemes of work or rearrange the school’s curriculum map to take advantage of strong links between subjects or identify linking themes. “Individuals in the 21st century will need to be creative, adaptable, life long learners to take full advantage of changing social and employment situations. Cross curricular learning is an important element in developing such individuals”. Cross curricular links are vital to learning, as learning depends on being able to make connections between prior knowledge and experiences and new information and experiences. Such connections help us make sense of our world and develop our capacity to learn, since the human brain increases its capacity by making connections (synapses).

              Establishing connections between various school subjects and also  being aware of the difficulties one may face are basic features of cross-curricular learning.  Identifying  links between subjects also helps us learn more effectively as it offers opportunities to apply embedded skills and knowledge in meaningful and purposeful contexts. For instance, learning about rhythm and pattern in music can enhance children’s creation of rhythmical and patterned sequences of movement in PE or drawing a certain object  can  lead to a better understanding of how it works. Strong links such as these can enhance learning in all subjects. They help learners see the relevance, within a wider context, of the skills and knowledge they are acquiring in specific subjects.

              When it comes to learning English, various activities can be successfully used in the classroom. Students could be asked to write lyrics for songs with social themes or to create a travel brochure inspired from local history. They could also be asked to conduct debates on the importance of history or whether religious education should be banned or not, they could be asked to draw a poster which illustrates the literary activity of a certain author. Younger students are interested in physical movement, singing and painting so teachers could focus on songs, chants or poems having as topics geography, biology, literature and so on.

               Therefore, interdisciplinary teaching is focused on different topics, which it explores with the help of various notions, pupils being encouraged to show initiative, to work on various projects and continuously learn by themselves, in order to acquire a general image on the studied subject, be it an ecosystem, a physical phenomenon, a literary movement or a transportation network.

                As long as students and teachers understand that learning is not an isolated process, that one does not simply learn a certain school subject without linking it to other items of information, this type of learning can be extremely successful, since these are the requirements of our society.
                It is worth mentioning the fact that students do a better job of learning academics when technology is integrated in the learning process and it helps them express themselves. By working with technology as part of project-based curriculums, students develop essential, lifelong digital communication skills. “Interdisciplinary teaching differs from discipline- and field-based teaching in that it does not necessarily carve out spaces for each individual subject area, and instead, connects content and consciously identifies the relationships between these subjects.”

                Finally, cross-curricular teaching and learning aim at improving  the quality of education, by using modern means  and by stressing upon the fact that learning must be viewed from a holistic perspective. There is no such thing as learning only a certain school subject if we want to keep up with the rapid changes in the society we all live in. Everyone must be aware of the fact that in order to be among the best, it takes knowledge, effort, being always one step ahead others and last but not least, being multi-skilled.

 

 

            References

 

             1) Klein. J.T. , Interdisciplinarity: history, theory and practice, Wayne State University Press, Detroit, 1990

             2) http://www.lgfl.net

             3) http://www.learnnc.org

 

Ultima actualizare în Luni, 21 Martie 2011 22:39
 

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