Interdisciplinary education: memorialising learning experiences

Harvie, J. (2020) Interdisciplinary education: memorialising learning experiences. EducA: International Catholic Journal of Education, 6,

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Over the past few decades, global institutions such as the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) have helped homogenize educational policy and similarities can now be seen in curricula across the globe (Priestley, 2002: Sahlberg, 2007). One feature of many new curricular models is the emphasis placed on giving students transferable, generic skills through a focus on studying ‘cross cutting themes’ which blur disciplinary boundaries e.g. France (Baillat & Niclot, 2010), Spain (Segovia et al., 2010), Canada (Hasni et al., 2015) and Australia (Long et al., 2010). It could be said that in preparing students for life in the post-industrial information age, the “what” that students require to know has now changed (Virtue et al., 2019). Interdisciplinary learning (IDL) is promoted as something which allows educators to facilitate this change and develop skills building and conceptual creativity in their pupils, factors which are crucial for the twenty-first century education system (Khadri, 2014; Kolmos, 2016). Critics of an integrated approach to learning argue that this can be detrimental to students because it dilutes and weakens the powerful knowledge contained within the disciplines (Young and Muller, 2010, Young, 2014). The assumption, here, is that the acquisition of this ‘powerful knowledge’ is dependent on it being delivered through discrete, specialised subjects. However, others argue that the opposite it true and that by making learning experiential and allowing students to explore relevant problems and questions, knowledge is actually enhanced, memorials of events are created through the experiences and students are prepared more holistically for life beyond the school gates (Dewey: 1938, Guissani, 1995: Beane, 1997). This paper considers the purpose of schools, the nature of IDL in relation to knowledge and explores its usefulness as a tool to help educators to offer students “a response to a question one lives” (Guissani, 1995). It argues that rather than memorising facts for the purpose of passing exams for example, interdisciplinary approaches enable pupils to unitise digital technologies and memorialise learning which they can then use and apply in real life contexts.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Harvie, Dr Julie
Authors: Harvie, J.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Education
College of Social Sciences > School of Education > Educational Leadership & Policy
Journal Name:EducA: International Catholic Journal of Education
Publisher:Association for Catholic Institutes for the Study of Education

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