The Value of Integrated Curriculum

Topics: Kindergarten, The Child, Family Pages: 11 (3125 words) Published: December 8, 2013
Introduction
The integrated curriculum is a great gift to experienced teachers. It's like getting a new pair of lenses that make teaching a lot more exciting and help us look forward into the next century. It is helping students take control of their own learning.

I'm learning more in this course, and I'm doing better than I used to do when social studies and English were taught separately.
This teacher and student express an increasingly widespread enthusiasm for curriculum integration. While not necessarily a new way of looking at teaching, curriculum integration has received a great deal of attention in educational settings. Based both in research and teachers' own anecdotal records of success, educational journals are reporting many examples of teachers who link subject areas and provide meaningful learning experiences that develop skills and knowledge, while leading to an understanding of conceptual relationships.

Definitions
Integrated curriculum, interdisciplinary teaching, thematic teaching, synergistic teaching.... When attempting to define integrated curriculum, it is also necessary to look at related terms. Several definitions are offered here. As this paper is narrowed to K-12 integrated curriculum, definitions from vocational and higher education are not included, although there is a growing interest in both of those areas in the interdisciplinary, integrated curriculum. The reader interested in specifics about interdisciplinary work in those fields is invited to consult the General References at the end of this report.

A basic definition is offered by Humphreys (Humphreys, Post, and Ellis 1981) when he states, "An integrated study is one in which children broadly explore knowledge in various subjects related to certain aspects of their environment" (p. 11). He sees links among the humanities, communication arts, natural sciences, mathematics, social studies, music, and art. Skills and knowledge are developed and applied in more than one area of study. In keeping with this thematic definition, Shoemaker defines an integrated curriculum as

...education that is organized in such a way that it cuts across subject matter lines, bringing together various aspects of the curriculum into meaningful association to focus upon broad areas of study. It views learning and teaching in a holistic way and reflects the real world, which is interactive.

Within this framework there are varied levels of integration, as illustrated by Palmer (1991, p. 59), who describes the following practices:
• Developing cross-curriculum sub objectives within a given curriculum guide • Developing model lessons that include cross-curricular activities and assessments
• Developing enrichment or enhancement activities with a cross-curricular focus including suggestions for cross-curricular "contacts" following each objective • Developing assessment activities that are cross-curricular in nature • Including sample planning wheels in all curriculum guides. What is integrated curriculum?

is important to understand that curriculum integration is an idea that has a strong historical background. Disciplines were created in an attempt to organize the world around them; sometimes this was motivated by political means (Beane 1991). Educational reform has roots dating as far back as the progressive era. The philosophy behind educational reform during the progressive era centered around an emphasis on student creativity, applicable outcomes, "natural" learning, and student experience (Rousmaniere, 1999). This belief system has been the fundamental base for integrated curriculum. Supporters of the progressive educational reform believed that the different disciplines prevented students from making connections between the different subjects. Therefore, the relevance of the material decreased (Taylor, 1995). Components of Integrated Curriculum

Focuses on basic skills, content and higher level thinking...

References: A basic definition is offered by Humphreys (Humphreys, Post, and Ellis 1981) when
he states, "An integrated study is one in which children broadly explore knowledge in
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