Interdisciplinary Learning

"An alignment between education and the full range of life experiences congruent with the human condition"







Interdisciplinary Learning:

Interdisciplinary learning may be defined as
the study, or practice, of a subject which applies the methods and approaches of several disciplines. In using this strategy, teachers can try to relate one subject area with another to help remedy the fragmentation of separate subject areas and to encourage learning that connects ideas and concepts. When given a little thought and using a little creativity, any subject may be linked to any other subject area.

Interdisciplinary learning benefits the students for a number of reasons. First, students are able to see relationships between subjects; No one subject exists in a vacuum. Every subject discussed will always be related to another area of study. By seeing these relationships, students may gain a firmer grasp on the ideas and concepts presented. It may also help to motivate or spark an interest in another subject area.

During our time participating in the Urban Educators Institute we noticed one classroom which was helping students learn about Japanese culture by combining several content areas, including social studies, language arts, science as well as the visual arts. The students learned about Japan and several of the practices and traditions that are associated with the culture. In brief, the students took a look at the nation's geographical location and environmental concerns such as earthquakes and tsunamis as well as the technological advances the country has made. The students also learned about Haiku and subsequently created their own Haiku which were displayed for the entire school to enjoy. Students also learned some of the country's traditions including the use of decorated fans. The students learned when the fans came about and why, as well as what types of themes, motifs, or common elements exist in various fans. Afterwards, students had the opportunity to create their own fans. Whether the students are visual, auditory, or kinesthetic learners, the teacher covered every aspect to provide a well-rounded and cohesive lesson, which from the look of it - definitely had a positive impact on the students.

To the left, (the first and second images) shows students working on their Haiku projects as well as their Japanese Fans.

To the right shows a close up example of one of the finished fans. The children were especially pleased with how they came out, as was the teacher. One of the chief lessons learned was the concept, "Form follows function," and the fan definitely comes in handy during these hot spring and summer months!