An Integrated Curriculum

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The idea of going beyond factual items and making connections to the learner’s world is not new. In 1915, John Dewey wrote about this in “The School and Society”.

“Relate the school to life, and all studies are of necessity correlated.”

Today, no one definition captures standard-based integration but the following is as close as we can get.

An Integrated Curriculum is a curriculum developed to break down barriers between disciplines and make learning more meaningful to students.

This definition needs to remain broad because there are different levels of integration. As one examines the Levels of Integration, an increased understanding develops.

Level 1: Discipline Integration

This is a first step in an integration approach that is actually quite unpopular today. It is inspired from practices that encourage isolated repetition and rote memorization of knowledge.

Level 2: Combined Integration

In this approach to integration, there is an effort to pair up subjects that have an explicit connection.

Level 3: Multidiscipline Integration

A multidiscipline integration approach involves combinations of more than two subjects together. Not only do they connect to each other where connections are explicit, but they also connect through a central theme.

Level 4: Interdiscipline Integration

In an interdiscipline approach to integration, the learning becomes much more conceptual and the themes are articulated in the form of deep questioning to reach higher level understanding.

Level 5: Transdiscipline Integration

The transdisciplinary step of integration encourages a curriculum that makes connections between the subjects, not only through explicit and conceptual ties, but also through the personal experiences of the learners. It ties in also the notion of relevance. At this level of integration, concepts are sometimes organized in different types.

Tell us about the integrated curriculum that you use in your classroom.

From Professional Learning Board’s online continuing education course for teachers: Integrating Standards in Teaching

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