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INTERDISCIPLINARY/INTEGRATEDLEARNING
ASELECTIONFROMTHERESEARCHLITERATURE

Notes
IntheUSAmanydevelopmentscalledintegratedlearningorasimilartitle
representwhatiscalledinterdisciplinarylearningintheCurriculumforExcellence
context.

Thebriefcommentsoneachtextsimplygiveanorientationtoitscontent;theydo
notpurporttosummarisethetext.

Thetextsareorganisedingroups.However,thisarrangementisintendedonlyto
giveabroadindicationofthemainissue(s)inatext;particulartextsoftenreferto
issuesrelevanttoagroupotherthantheonetowhichtheyhavebeenallocated.

THECONCEPTOFINTERDISCIPLINARY/INTEGRATEDLEARNINGANDAPPROACHES
TOIMPLEMENTINGIT

KleinJ.T.2005.IntegrativeLearningandInterdisciplinaryStudies.PeerReview,
Vol.7,No.4.AssociationofAmericanCollegesandUniversities.

Givesahistoricalaccountacrossthe19
th
and20
th
centuriesofideasandpracticein
integrativeeducation,includingvariouslate20
th
centurystrategiessuchas
thematicstudies,multisubjectdesigns,integratedunits,skillsacrossthecurriculum,
combinedsocialstudiesandasocialproblemsapproachtoscienceeducation.Also
highlightstheintegrativeapproachinearlyyearseducationandinoutcomesbased
curriculaaimingtodevelopgeneralcognitiveandlearningskills.Arguesthatthereis
nouniquepedagogicalapproachtointegrated/interdisciplinaryworkgoodgeneral
learning/teachingpracticeisneeded.However,keyfactorsforsuccessareexplicitly
integrative/interdisciplinarydiscussionsrelatedtoatheme/question/problem,
genuinelycollaborativeteamteachingandexplorationofdiffering
perspectives/cultures/lifeexperiences.

KleinJ.T.andNewellW.H.2002.StrategiesforUsingInterdisciplinaryResources
AcrossK16.IssuesinIntegrativeStudiesNo.20,pp139160.

Providesguidanceonarangeofresourcesbydefiningsixmajorareasandactivities
thatwillyieldaportfolioofmaterialsandstrategiesforteaching,curriculum
planning,andadministration.Theyencompass(1)primaryliteratures,(2)
professionalorganisationsandrelatedpublications,(3)specialisedliteratures,(4)
networking,(5)electronicdatabasesearching,and(6)professionaldevelopment.

IvanitskayaL.,ClarkD.,MontgomeryG.andPrimeauR.2002.Interdisciplinary
Learning:ProcessandOutcomes.InnovativeHigherEducation,Vol.27,No.2.
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Definesinterdisciplinarylearningascharacterisedbytheintegrationof
multidisciplinaryknowledgeacrossacentralprogramthemeorfocus.Withrepeated
exposuretointerdisciplinarythought,learnersdevelopenhancedcriticalthinking
abilityandmetacognitiveskillsandanunderstandingoftherelationsamong
perspectivesderivedfromdifferentdisciplines.UsesanadaptationofBiggsand
Collis(1982)StructureoftheObservedLearningOutcometoillustratethestagesof
interdisciplinaryknowledgeintegrationandexplainscorrespondingpatternsof
learnersintellectualfunctioning,fromacquisitionofsinglesubjectinformationto
transferofinterdisciplinaryknowledgetoothertopics,issues,orproblems.Argues
forintegrationofmultidisciplinaryknowledgeacrossacentralthemeorfocusand
advocatesanapproachinvolvingthestagesorganisingproblem(reallifethemes,
suchascommunityplanning,pollutionproblems,natureinthecity);background;
intendedoutcomes;activities;reflectionquestions;performanceassessments.

Jacobs,H.(ed.)1989.InterdisciplinaryCurriculum:DesignandImplementation.
Alexandria,VA:AssociationforSupervisionandCurriculumDevelopment.

Describesavarietyofcurriculumintegrationoptionsfromconcurrentteachingof
relatedsubjectstofusionofcurricularfocustoresidentialstudyfocusingondaily
living.Therangeincludestwoweekunitstoyearlongcourses.

Drake,S.1993.PlanningIntegratedCurriculum:TheCalltoAdventure.Alexandria,
VA:AssociationforSupervisionandCurriculumDevelopment.

Identifiesthreekeyconcepts:Multidisciplinarity(lookingatacommontopicor
themeindifferentdisciplines);interdisciplinarity(explorationofideas,skills,
processescommontodifferentdisciplines);transdisciplinarity(lifecentred
approach,gainingknowledgeintherealworld,typicallythroughexplorationofa
theme/interest/problemfromwhichthecontentoftheworkundertakenisderived).

ClarkE.T.(Jr)1997.DesigningandImplementinganIntegratedCurriculum:a
StudentcenteredApproach.HolisticEducationPress.
Availableathttp://www.greatideas.org/clark.htm

Advocatesintegrated,ecologicalandlearnercentredlearning.Keyideasare:

openendedquestionsaboutstudents'placesinsociety,history,community,
theecosystem
communitiesoflearning;constructingmeaningindividuallyand
collaboratively;cultivationofinquiry;directengagement.

Connect4Educationsite(createdandmaintainedbyEvenArcheworks)
http://www.archeworks.org/projects/tcsp/ic_guide.html

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IntegratedCurriculumGuidestructuredusingthetitlesIntroduction,WhatIs
IntegratedCurriculum?,Why?,Examples,HowTo,FindOutMore.

ApplebeeA.N.,AdlerM.andFlihanS.2007.InterdisciplinaryCurriculainMiddle
andHighSchoolClassrooms:CaseStudiesofApproachestoCurriculumand
Instruction.AmericanEducationalResearchJournal,December2007,Vol.44,No.
4,pp10021039.
Availableathttp://aer.sagepub.com/cgi/content/abstract/44/4/1002

Thisstudyexamines11interdisciplinaryteamsinvolving30teachersand542
studentsinNewYorkandCalifornia.Theteamsrepresentedanarrayofapproaches
tointerdisciplinarycurricula,rangingfromsimplecorrelationtomajor
reinterpretationofthecontributingdisciplines.Teamsengagedinthemost
significantrethinkingoftraditionalcontenttendedtouseteachingapproachesthat
emphasizedthinking,envisionmentbuildingactivitiesandextendeddiscussionof
significantideasthemoreinterdisciplinarytheactivities,thegreaterthecognitive
engagement,generally.Inthesetypesofdevelopmentteachers(aswellasstudents)
tendedtodeveloptheirownlearninginplanningandteammeetingsandwere
enthusedbysharingideasacrossdisciplines.However,individualmembersof
teachingteamsstillvariedconsiderablyinteachingstyle.Thestudyconcludesthat
interdisciplinarycourseworkisneitheraproblemnorasolutionineffortstoincrease
studentachievement;rather,itinvolvesanumberoftradeoffsthatneedtobe
consideredbytheschool.

NowacekR.S.2005.ADiscoursebasedTheoryofInterdisciplinaryConnections.
JournalofGeneralEducation,Vol.54,No.3,pp171195.

Arguesthatinterdisciplinarylearninginvolvesessentiallytheperceptionsand
knowledgeconstructionsofindividuallearnersandthattheydrawonfourtypesof
discoursebasedresourcestoidentifydisciplinesandtomakecrossconnections
ratherthansyntheses.Itisessentiallyamatteroftheinteractionofthedifferent
disciplines'perspectivesandmodesofthought.
(ThebracketedpointsshowexamplesofhowtheseconceptsmightapplytoLiterary
Studies.)
Content(literarytexts)
Propositions(thekindsofargumentsadvancedindiscussion/writing)
Classroomgenres(interactionalstyleofteaching)
WaysofKnowing(values,closeanalysisoflanguageandnuancesofmeaning)

FogartyR.1991.TenWaystoIntegrateCurriculum.EducationalLeadership,Vol.49
No.2,pp6165.

Presents10modelsfordesigningcurriculathathelpstudentsmakevaluable
connectionswhilelearning.Beginningwithexplorationwithinsingledisciplines(the
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fragmented,connected,andnestedmodels),andcontinuingwithmodelsintegrating
acrossseveraldisciplines,thecontinuumendswithmodelsoperatingwithinlearners
themselvesand,finally,acrossnetworksoflearners.

MerickelM.L.2003.IntegrationoftheDisciplines:TenMethodologiesfor
Integration.
Availableathttp://oregonstate.edu/instruction/ed555/zone3/tenways.htm
(AlsoinIntegratingCurriculumanIntroduction
http://www.smallschoolsproject.org/PDFS/Planning_Resources/summer2003/sum
mer2003integrating.pdf)

AdaptedfromIntegratingCurriculawithMultipleIntelligences:Teams,Themes,and
ThreadsbyRobinFogartyandJudyStoehr(1995).
Merickelsexpansionontheirworkgivesdetaileddescriptionsofthetenmodelsand
helpsthereadervisualizethedifferencebetweenthemethodologies.

Kysilka,M.L.1998.UnderstandingIntegratedCurriculum.CurriculumJournal,Vol.
9,No.2,pp197209

Setsouttheargumentsofadvocatesofintegratedcurriculum:
1Genuinelearningtakesplaceasstudentsareengagedinmeaningful,purposeful
activity.
2Themostsignificantactivitiesarethosewhicharemostdirectlyrelatedtothe
students'interestsandneeds.
3Knowledgeintherealworldisnotappliedinbitsandpiecesbutinanintegrative
fashion.
4Individualsneedtoknowhowtolearnandhowtothinkandshouldnotbe
receptaclesforfacts.
5Subjectmatterisameans,notagoal.
6Teachersandstudentsneedtoworkcooperativelyintheeducativeprocessto
ensuresuccessfullearning.
7Knowledgeisgrowingexponentiallyandchangingrapidly,itisnolongerstaticand
conquerable.
8Technologyischangingaccesstoinformation,defyinglockstep,sequential,
predeterminedstepsinthelearningprocess.

ConsiderstheadvocacyintheUnitedStatesatthetimeofthearticleforIntegrated
Curriculumasthemeansof'solving'manyofthecurriculumproblemsconfronting
education.Modelsofcurriculumintegration(suchasRobinFogartys,1991)
permeatedtheprofessionalliterature,yettherewaslittleconsensusastoexactly
whatismeantbyintegratedcurriculumandhowtoestablishsuchcurriculain
schools.Arguesthatthelanguageofcurriculumintegrationisconfusingandleadsto
uncertaintyandconcernaboutthepotentialofIntegratedCurriculumtoimpact
positivelyonschools.Placingthemodelsonacurriculumcontinuumrevealsthat
theyrangefromtraditionaldisciplinebased,objectivedriven,teachercontrolled
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modelstointerestbased,studentexploration.Althoughhistoricallyresearch
supportsIntegrativeCurriculum,Kysilkapointedoutthattherewasapaucityof
currentresearchwhichwouldsupportargumentsforrestructuringtheAmerican
curriculuminthisfashion.Additionally,therewasagreatdealofresistanceto
changebothfromwithinandoutsidetheeducationalcommunitytomassive
curriculumrestructuring.

PROBLEMSINIMPLEMENTINGINTERDISCIPLINARYLEARNING

Shoham,E.1998.Frompolicytopractice:integratedcurriculumplanningand
teacherprofessionalisminIsraelielementaryschools.TeacherDevelopment,2:3,
pp405417.
Availableathttp://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13664539800200064

ExaminestwoaspectsofthedevelopmentofaneducationalpolicyIntegrated
CurriculumPlanninginsixIsraelielementaryschools:theteachersunderstanding
ofthemainconceptsoftheintegrativeapproachandthecharacteristicsofschool
basedintegrativecurricula.Theresearchrevealedthattheteachersareonlypartially
acquaintedwiththemainconceptsoftheintegrativeapproachandthattheir
understandingoftheseconceptsislargelyintuitive.Teachersfindithardtothink
outsidetheirsubjectexpertiseandwanttoplanactivities,ratherthanworktoan
integrationrationale.Theyoftenhadpoorunderstandingoftheorganising
elementorintegrativetopic.Teamsofteacherswerethereforeplanningcurricular
activitieswhilelackingtheappropriatetheoreticalbackground,andthisaffectedthe
natureandqualityoftheintegrativecurriculadevelopedinschools.Shohamargues
that,inordertoensurethetransitionfromdisciplinebasedcurriculatointegrated
curriculumplanning,thereisaneedtoactonthreelevels:(a)teachereducation;(b)
inservicetrainingandguidance;and(c)theeducationalsystemandbudgeting.

Note:severalofthetextslistedunderConceptofInterdisciplinary/Integrated
LearningandApproachestoImplementingItalsoevaluatepractical
implementationandidentifyissues.

BENEFITSOFINTERDISCIPLINARY/INTEGRATEDLEARNING

Sill,DavidJ.2001.IntegrativeThinking,SynthesisandCreativityinInterdisciplinary
Studies.TheJournalofGeneralEducationVolume50,Number4,2001,pp288
311.

Identifiescreativityandcriticalandhigherorderthinkingaskeybenefitsof
interdisciplinaryactivities,derivingfromprocessesofhypothesising,comparison,
contrast,analysisandsynthesisthatarecentraltothem.Otherbenefitsidentified
includeaninquisitiveattitude,sensitivitytoalternativepointsofviewandtoethical
issues,anenlargedperspectiveandmoreoriginalandunconventionalthinking.

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Note:severalofthetextslistedunderConceptofInterdisciplinary/Integrated
LearningandApproachestoImplementingItalsoindicatebenefits.

QueenslandNewBasicsProject

Informationandlinkstoallkeyaspectsofthisdevelopment,whichpromotes
transdisciplinaryframework,productivepedagogiesandinterdisciplinaryrich
tasks(asconcludingactivitiestoextendedperiodsofwork),areavailableonthe
projecthomepageathttp://education.qld.gov.au/corporate/newbasics/

NewBasicsProjectTechnicalPaperEducationQueensland2000
Availableathttp://education.qld.gov.au/corporate/newbasics/docs/nbftech.doc

ThepapersetsouttheQueenslandStatestrategyforimplementingtheNewBasics
approach,includingauthenticassessmentusinginterdisciplinaryrichtasks.It
states:

TheNewBasicsProjectwillattempttodealwiththeimperativesofQueensland
StateEducation2010by:
assistingschoolstoharmonisechangesincurriculum,pedagogyandassessment;
focusingontheknowledges,skillsanddiscoursesrequiredfornewtimes;
viewingequityasensuringequalaccessto,andcontinuousimprovementof,
achievementatimportantcommonlearnings;
improvingstudentoutcomesthrougharigorousempiricalanalysisand
revitalisationofclassroompedagogy;
makingavigorouscommitmenttoteachersintellectualworkand
professionalism.

TheNewBasicsProjectisbasedonfivefundamentaleducationalpremises:

1 ThePedagogyPremise.Improvedstudentoutcomesrequireasystematic,
principledandpracticalcoordinationofthemessagesystemsofcurriculum,
pedagogyandassessment.
2 TheFuturesPremise.Outcomesshouldbefuturesoriented,basedona
philosophyofeducationcommittedtothepreparationofstudentsfornew
workplaces,technologiesandcultures.
3 TheEquityPremise.Aprincipledselectionandpedagogicalprovisionof
important,commonlearningsshouldaddresstheeconomicandcultural
aspirationsofthemostatriskandculturallydiversecommunities.
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4 TheResearchPremise.Reconstructionofcurriculum,pedagogyand
assessmentneedstobeexplicitlyguidedbydocumentedanalysisandrigorous
discussionofcurrentschoolpractices.
5 TheProfessionalLearningCommunityPremise.Improved,equitablestudent
outcomesandeffectivereformsincurriculum,pedagogyandassessment
requirehighlevelsofteacherprofessionalism,sustainedintellectualworkand
sharedownershipofreformwithindynamicschoolcommunitiesfocusedon
learning.

Haines,S.S.,andThomas,S.2005.TheNewBasics'inaTraditionalHighSchool
TeacherExperiencesinaligningcurriculum,pedagogyandassessment.Paper
presentedattheRedesigningPedagogy:Research,Policy,Practice,Singapore.

InthecontextofthecurrentreformmovementinpubliceducationintheStateof
QueenslandinAustraliatotransformingschoolstobecomeanintegralpartofthe
learningsocietyofthenew,postmoderncentury,theaimofthepaperistopresent
vignettesofthejourneyofagroupofteachersmeetingthedemandsofnewtimes.
Thispaperpresentssomepreliminarythemesthatareemerginginadoctoralstudy
thatseekstoinvestigateanddescribetheimpactofthetransdisciplinaryNew
BasicsframeworkandtheauthenticassessmentitemscalledRichTasksona
traditionalsecondaryschool.ThefocusisontheexperiencesofteachersinYears8
and9ofschooling.

Page,JamesS.(2003)TowardsaCriticalAppraisaloftheQueenslandNewBasics
Project.PerspectivesonEducationalLeadership,13(6),pp12.
Availableathttp://eprints.qut.edu.au/3611/
OfferssixpointsofcritiqueoftheNewBasicsProject.
1. TransorInterdisciplinarityintheschoolcurriculumwillprobablyleadto
curriculumoverload,inacontextwherepolicyalsoaimsnottoreduce
commitmenttotraditionaldisciplines.
2. Theprojectisessentiallyinstrumentalist,treatingeducationasthe
meanstotheendoffutureemployability(andthereisnoevidencethat
theexistingcurricularframeworkofdisciplinescannotsucceedin
achievingthisanddevelopingstudentsascapablepeople.
3. Theaccuratepredictionoffuturechallengesforstudentsisimpossible.
4. Thereisabehaviourist/corporistapproachtoeducationevidentinthe
emphasisonteachingstudentstodothings(cfproductivepedagogies)
Educationshoulddeveloppersons:whoyouareismoreimportantthan
whatyoucando.
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5. Theconceptofthebasicsisessentiallyreductionist.Itimpliesaspects
ofeducationthatarenonbasicandarethereforelikelytoreceiveless
attention.
6. Becausetheprojectiscentrallymandated,thereisadangerthatitwill
eventuallycontributetodeskillinganddeprofessionalisingofteachers.

LEARNINGANDTEACHINGAPPROACHES
Newmann,F.M.,Secada,W.G.andWehlage,G.G.1995.Aguidetoauthentic
instructionandassessment:vision,standards,andscoring.Madison,WI:Wisconsin
CenterforEducationResearch,UniversityofWisconsin.
Newmann,F.M.,Marks,H.M.andGamoran,A.1996.Authenticpedagogyand
studentperformance.AmericanJournalofEducation,104(4),pp280312.
Theconceptsofauthenticpedagogyandauthenticassessment,developedbyFred
Newmannandcolleagues,frequentlyunderpininterdisciplinary/integrativelearning
developmentsintheUSA.Threekeyideasare:
ConstructionofKnowledge:involvinghypothesising,organising,synthesising,
interpreting,explaining,evaluatingandconsidering.
DisciplinedEnquiry:involvingthecontentofdiscussion,theprocessofdiscussionand
elaboratedwriting.
ValueBeyondSchool:activitiesandthinkingconnectedtoreallifeproblemsand
issuesandaddressingaudiencesbeyondtheschool.

HaynesC.(Ed.)2003.InnovationsinInterdisciplinaryTeaching.Phoenix,Az.
AmericanCouncilonEducationOryxPress.

Aimedathighereducationstaff,butwithmessagesrelevanttoschools.Aseriesof
chaptersdesignedtoassistbothnewandexperiencedfacultymemberswhoneed
helpteachingininterdisciplinarysettings.Arguesthatinterdisciplinarypedagogyis
notasingleprocess,setofskills,method,ortechnique.Itispurposeoriented,
concernedprimarilywithfosteringinstudentsasenseofselfauthorshipand
offeringanotionofknowledgethatstudentscandrawuponwhenrespondingto
complexquestions,issues,orproblems.Teachersrolesincludethoseofmentors,
facilitators,coaches,guidesasstudentsmakemeaning,applyknowledgebyposing
questions,usingmultiplesourcesofknowledge,anddevelopawarenessand
toleranceofdifferingperspectives,ambiguityandparadoxes.

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Lave,J.andWenger,E.1991.SituatedLearning.Legitimateperipheral
participation.Cambridge.UniversityofCambridgePress.
AnexplanationofkeyideasfromtheworkofLaveandWengercanbefoundon
theInfedsiteathttp://www.infed.org/biblio/communities_of_practice.htm
ManyaspectsofLaveandWengersanalysisofsituatedlearningandcommunities
ofpracticeareimportantininterdisciplinarylearning,particularlyinaddressingbig
issuesorproblems.Relevantideasinclude:participativelearning,mutual
engagementbyateaminajointenterprise;sharingofrepertoires,resourcesand
waysofdoingthings;learninginrelationships;andfocusinglearning/thinkingactivity
onadefinedcontext.

LingardR.,MillsM.andHayesD.2006.EnablingandAligningAssessmentfor
Learning:SomeResearchandPolicylessonsfromQueensland.International
StudiesinSociologyofEducationVol.16No.2,pp83103.
DrawingontheQueenslandSchoolReformLongitudinalStudy(QSRLS),thispaper
documentstheassessmentpracticesofabout250Queenslandprimaryand
secondaryclassroomsandtheextenttowhichtheyalignwiththosepedagogical
practicesdescribedasproductivepedagogiesintheresearch.(Productive
pedagogiesareanimportantelementintheQueenslandNewBasicsdevelopments
describedabove.)Thepaperoutlinesinsomedetailtheconceptof'productive
assessment',whichalsodevelopedoutoftheresearch,identifyingfourkeyfactors:
intellectualchallenge(fromthecontentandprocessesofdisciplines);connectedness
withreallifeissuesbeyondtheschool;supportivelearningandteaching;and
valuingdifferences.TheQSRLSdemonstratedthenecessityofaligningpedagogies
andassessmentpracticeswithcurriculumpurposestoenhancestudentlearningand
contributetosociallyjustoutcomes.Alackofvisiblealignmentintheassessment
practicesofteachersinthestudyisdemonstratedanddiscussed.Whenconsidered
inconjunctionwiththelowintellectualdemandsoftheteachingpracticesobserved,
thereareserioussocialjusticeimplicationstobedrawnfromtheresearch.The
paperalsoshowsthesignificanceoftherelationshipbetweenassessmentpoliciesin
theeducationalsystemandteacherassessmentpractices.

GardnerH.2008.FiveMindsfortheFuture.Cambridge,Mass.HarvardBusiness
SchoolPress.
AGooglesearchcanfindaprintversionofatalkbyGardneronthefiveminds
givenattheEcolintMeetinginGeneva,January13,2008.
ItisalsopossibletofindvideosofGardnerspeakingonthetopic,egat
http://fora.tv/2006/07/06/Five_Minds_for_the_Future
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and
http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=7803142962405524835#
Gardnersetsoutinthisbookideasaboutfivekindsofmindheregardsascrucialfor
futurehumandevelopmentandsuccessandaboutthekindsoflearningexperiences
neededtodevelopthem.Thefivemindsare:theDisciplinedMind,theSynthesizing
Mind,theCreativeMind,theRespectfulMindandtheEthicalMind.Allfiveconcepts
ofmindarerelevanttoeffectiveinterdisciplinarylearning.