INTERDISCIPLINARY STUDIES: Pros and Cons

Technology is the direction that education is going.  With so many classes offering educational resources online and enough technology that teachers can solely rely on computers if they’re structured enough, we shouldn’t have to worry about finding the technology resources.  We shouldn’t worry whether or we will be able to learn how to use it, because every educational technology company has a 24 hour support team lined up to hold your hand during the application process.  This writer believes that we are turning back to the experience scenario in education.  How do we give students an experience in the classroom?

Interdisciplinary studies are a strategy in which a number of different disciplines work together to teach about an idea or topic that also covers curriculum for the class.  There are plenty of people out there that support and oppose interdisciplinary studies.  Here are some pros and cons that I have found while research the strategy.

PRO Teachable Moments

As teachers we look for teachable moments and most of the time we look for those moments that aren’t always within the realm of our educational discipline, in which we can inspire and encourage our students to make a difference in the real world.  With interdisciplinary studies we aren’t giving terms and notes that fit inside an idea that is applied in the real world.  Instead we look at it from the other angle.  We look at the idea and see how the terms fit.

CON Forcing terms into ideas

The problem is that often we have to use our ability to put fluff into our lesson plans.  Certain terms that may need to be focused on may lose the time they require to fully understand.  This could be turned into a pro as we all written at least one paper in college in which we included fluff.

PRO Easy transition from one class to another

It seems that the way a student handles the lesson in class that day depends on whether or not they know what they are doing.  When you give a surprise test to your first class of the day, then it won’t be a surprise anymore by the time lunch comes around.  When students go from one classroom to another and know that the topic hasn’t changed, just the format, and then they are better prepared for class.

CON Students don’t enjoy the topic

Although we may think that the topic is beneficial to the students and could help them in the future, they may not agree.  If students find the topic to be boring, no matter the enthusiasm or delivery, then their attention for the rest of the unit may feel almost impossible to catch.

PRO Efficiency of learning

We are noticing that students are learning in a number of different ways and that some students are only able to learn one way.  With interdisciplinary studies the learning process is hitting terms and ideas from a number of different angles to ensure that students are able to learn in a number of different ways.  One student may retain information better in English.  However, they are now able to apply what they have learned in their favorite subject to others.

CON

Some students may have trouble switch ideas from one subject to the other.  While they understand the terms that have been learned in one discipline they may have trouble applying others to the same idea.

 

It seems that we are running into more criticism every day about how inefficient education is.  However, we now have more resources today than ever before to customize education for the teacher and the student.  Recently, flipping the classroom has been practice to allow students to personalize their own learning.  If we take the time to test and try different technologies and strategies we can customize our lesson plans were the most efficient learning can take place.

 

BIO

Will graduated in Secondary Education from Arizona State University with an emphasis in Social Studies and Geography.  He has taught Senior Economics in Arizona but is currently a traveling educator teaching in the Caribbean, African, and Europe in subjects ranging from Health and Economics to History and Outdoor Education.  He is also interested in getting masters in educational leadership.

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