Andrews (1990) defines interdisciplinary collaboration as occurring “when different professionals, possessing unique knowledge, skills, organizational perspectives, and personal attributes, engage in coordinated problem solving for a common purpose”. Hardre et al ‘s (2013) study discusses many benefits in an interdisciplinary learning community. This includes innovative thinking, metacognitive awareness and critical practice.
My own practice:
Interdisciplinary practice is not something that has crossed my radar in my teaching career, so it was extremely interesting to read the articles in this weeks readings and reflect on if I had these connections in my practice and where to next to create this in my practice. As a primary school teacher, and specifically a senior teacher I have the chance to integrate and link curriculum areas together. Reading and writing has now become literacy where the links between reading and writing are taught, discussed and the purpose becomes the most important part. Literacy is also linked into our science, social studies and every topic that has is carried out. However, as the literature points out, interdisciplinary practice is so much more than just integrating and linking topics together. To truly have an interdisciplinary practice I need to make sure that I am “combining two or more disciplines, pedagogical approaches, groups of people, and skills” (Mathison& Freeman,1997).
Below is a map that looks at my current and potential interdisciplinary practice related to groups of people and skills. The Red lines are
A successful model of interdisciplinary practice needs 3 main criteria; attitudes, common goals and workplace conditions. A connection that I would like to explore is team teaching across the senior team. I have seen some fantastic examples of this practice in our school, with our Year 1 classes being team taught and also two of our senior classes team teaching this year.
For this to work I would need to have a shared vision, common goals and a similar attitude towards learning and teaching. Respect also plays an immense part in collaborating with another teacher as without this it would be extremely difficult to sustain. By finding someone in my team to collaborate with, it would help if they had also studied with the mindlab and had a understanding of the 21st century skills that we need to be integrating through our curriculum. Teaching with a collegue where the focus is on real life problem solving, innovation and project based learning would help create life long learners in the classroom.
After watching the video of Interdisciplinarity and Innovation Education, I think the benefits of interdisciplinary collaboration definitely outway the disadvantages. through applying this in the classroom students tend to become more engaged as rather than just your three core subjects, students are able to see the connections and apply social and emotional learning to these as well. It provides meaningful learning which connects to the real world and students interests. However, I do wonder that if the focus is on connecting all of our learning, is there a chance that students might miss learning core important skills and knowledge. How do we make sure that everything is covered and that students are given the opportunity to learn new things rather than just the few that interest them.
ACRLog. (2015). A Conceptual Model for Interdisciplinary Collaboration. Retrieved from http://acrlog.org/2015/05/14/a-conceptual-model-for-interdisciplinary-collaboration
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, C.(2009). Interdisciplinary approach – Advantages, disadvantages, and the future benefits of interdisciplinary studies. ESSAI7 (26), 76-81. Retrieved from http://dc.cod.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1121&context=essai
Mathison,S.. & Freeman, M.(1997). The logic of interdisciplinary studies. Presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association, Chicago, 1997. Retrieved from http://www.albany.edu/cela/reports/mathisonlogic12004.pdf: