Integrating curriculum

What are 3 facts you have learned about curriculum integration from exploring these resources?

I have learnt about the advantages of studying subjects in a holistic, contextual way rather than in a vacuum! In public schools in Asheville and Buncombe, North Carolina, students learn math skills through clog dancing and explore the solar system through modern dance. In these schools, teachers deliver the core curriculum through the arts. This approach is based on the research report Champions of Change: The Impact of the Arts on Learning (Fiske, 1999). This report offers clear evidence that sustained involvement in particular art forms—music and theater—is highly correlated with success in mathematics and reading.

Also, that an integrated approach to learning not only prepares students for tackling real-world challenges but also yields immediate benefits ranging from greater student engagement to deeper understanding of core content.

Record your thoughts about these types of curriculum integration.

The emphasis on personalised learning, authentic learning and integrating the curriculum to support/drive is exciting, but when I think about the accountability that goes with it, and the work involved, I sense the pressure to get it right.

I like how Professor Susan Drake uses backward design, and it’s link to accountability: starting with a biggest picture, funneling down to your state, your state priorities, then you get down to your school level and then your day-to-day, what am I doing in my class. I do find relief in her suggestion that as long as you are respecting the Australian curriculum you have the freedom to be creative.

It’s important to know your students too: What’s their prior knowledge?  What kind of learning styles do they have?  What do the cards say about them when they came from previous grades? Students themselves can benefit from knowing their learning styles and multiple intelligences … How do I learn best?

Why integrate?  I like this example from the Queensland Education Department in Engaging students in deeper learning through aligning the learning areas:

Well, student engagement being the very big one for lots of reasons that people say, real world is not divided into discipline. I go to the grocery store, I’ve got to know more than one discipline to get through successfully. There’s so much duplication in our documents, especially if you look at it from the big umbrella. So this avoids duplication. We can do depth. It’s much more efficient. It means you can cover a lot more material and you can assess a lot more because in one assignment you can assess different subject areas.

 

What are the two conditions for purposefully connected curriculum that Jenny refers to?
What are some factors that should be considered for authentically connecting curriculum?

What is purposefully connected curriculum? It involves: • planning for teaching and learning drawing on two or three curricular areas • two key conditions: — maintaining the integrity of the curricular areas — the use of a clear conceptual link among curricular area content descriptions with links of two types: overlapping or common concepts; or complementary concepts.

Purposefully connected curriculum maintains the integrity of the curricular area. For each learning area/subject that is connected with another, it’s about ensuring that the:

  • rationale is enacted at the classroom level
  • aims are brought to life in the classroom
  • three dimensions of the AC—content; general capabilities and cross-curriculum priorities—are utilised and, in particular, that learning area key concepts are evident in teaching and learning and year level learning area/subject achievement standards are used for assessment purposes with assessment information collected using the valued features of the standard elaborations.
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