So it brings me here-I will quote from a research paper: ‘Most theories of prejudice recognize that members of all groups can be the proprietors and the targets of prejudice, and it is probably fair to say that everyone holds negative thoughts and feelings toward the members of some other groups. However, social psychological work on prejudice reduction has clearly focused its lens on advantaged groups – a focus that may seem appropriate. Whereas prejudice is ubiquitous, it becomes discrimination only when combined with power' ( Jones, 1997).
Thus I steered and directed my journey into the ‘grand path of pedagogy’ - I decided, I will rather write about Interdisciplinary Approach which is more politically correct. In our school, this year we are experimenting on an Interdisciplinary Approach: we call it the ‘Future Now’. It is a whole year’s course, is being trialed with a mixed ability year 10. So far I know, the students are selected thinking about their past background/interest. A group of teachers and SLT members are working together since the end of last year. The foremost challenge was to have some dialogue with the concerned parents : to convince them that the venture will be useful for our future orientation as far as curriculum modification/rethinking. Core ‘performers’ are five teachers who will focus on this class. They have been meeting on regular basis to design/execute/remodel their path to the existing curriculum in an innovative way to suit 21st Century Learning.
The theme is on Sustainable Coastline. The following link will get you the details of the theme.
Following is an extract from my email I sent to our e-learning director in support of the programme and this is what I wrote:
“Mathematics is everywhere, but this one will be something to do with their connectivity to their world. I suppose, I might be able to teach Rate, Measurement (conversion, area and various shapes). Added bonus will be teaching them how to work collaboratively and interdependently which is a complex mixture of objectives and outcomes. We can take a few robots and with the help of scratch show them how to work out (or they work out) the bearings etc. I mean, this exposes enormous possibilities. I have to learn how to manage this opportunity (as a beginner). I am excited”.
I have included a mind-map to substantiate my thoughts about the theme and what we might achieve from it. These are not only my thoughts, but compilations of thoughts and responses from the teachers involved in this programme.
'What is evident in the interdisciplinary, integrated, and integrative approaches is the conscious effort to provide students with more meaningful learning experiences'.
The idea of combining two or more disciplines, pedagogical approaches, groups of people,or skills is not new. First appearing in curricular contexts in the 1920s under the title 'core,'interdisciplinary and integrated curriculum have been widely associated with the progressive education movement (Oberholzer, 1937; Vars, 1991). Tyler (1949) saw integration as the horizontal connections necessary for a coherent curriculum, and Bloom (1958) advocated for an inquiry-oriented, integrated curriculum that "open(ed) up possibilities," understanding and relevance.
Students learned tolerance for their peers as well as leadership and collaboration skills. The study found that the majority of students found the experience beneficial and that the students "spoke of long-term relationships and of a democratic learning environment that honored their voices and empowered them as learners” (Boyer and Bishop, 2004, p.6)
But the interdisciplinary curricula is time consuming and takes collaborative team work to create, which can seem like a hard and exhausting disadvantage. Let's see how we progress with our 'Future Now' this year in RC.
Berg-Weger, M., &. Schneider, F. D. (1998). Interdisciplinary collaboration in social work education. Journal of Social Work Education, 34, 97-107.
Hardré, P. L., Ling, C., Shehab, R. L., Nanny, M. A., Nollert, M. U., Refai, H., ... & Wollega, E. D. (2013). Teachers in an Interdisciplinary Learning Community Engaging, Integrating, and Strengthening K-12 Education. Journal of Teacher Education, 64(5), 409-425.
Jones, Casey (2009) "Interdisciplinary Approach - Advantages, Disadvantages, and the Future Benefits of Interdisciplinary Studies," ESSAI: Vol. 7, Article 26. Available at: http://dc.cod.edu/essai/