Integration, incorporation, combination, assimilation etc. are synonymous and most commonly used unifying concepts in today’s education system. Integrated teaching is not a new concept. We as parents and/or students have been accustomed to this approach of teaching in our academic pursuits but the emphasis that is laid on this concept for today’s generation has evolved over the years. The general definition is the same. Driving a concept home using links across other disciplines, within the same discipline and/or fusion. Integration in curriculum has been re-defined to include terms such as multi-disciplinary, intra disciplinary and interdisciplinary. The extent to which these new terms are incorporated in schools today varies dependent upon the teaching philosophy of the schools and the needs of its students.
When I was a student, integration or interdisciplinary as it was called, was the most common teaching method used in schools. But as we advance and move towards a more progressive and competitive world, having knowledge in arts, music, or social studies is as important as mastering in subjects like math and science. What better way to inculcate an equal interest in each of these subjects using the integrated approach where emphasis is not only laid on the more professional or career defining studies generally referred to as STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) but also arts and history.
We at The Gaudium, strongly believe in encompassing the integrated method at the multidisciplinary level. To understand this concept better, we recently taught our students about cell division in our science class. To help our students understand this better, we made cell division as our main theme and asked our students to develop this concept across different disciplines. It was very interesting to note that not only did our students find this challenging, but they put all their best efforts forward. This assignment made them think, get creative, criticize, motivate each other, collaborate in a team, write, enact, comprehend, and develop decision making skills as an individual and as a team. Our students enlightened us with the concept of cell division through skits, musicals, essays, and STEM approach. Through this, we have made sure our students are not only focused on core subjects but are also able to pursue other area of studies such as arts, and music. Most important of all, our students who participated in this little experiment have been able to better retain the information imparted using this integrated and fun approach and have a better attitude towards learning.
We all remember learning about cell division and as parents if we think back, we may recall that it might have been just a regular science period where our teachers might have explained about the whole concept in the most straight forward manner as possible. This approach might have worked for us back then but in this age where student’s attention span is so volatile where they have access to technology, internet, iPad, video games and all the other entertainment that is available out there, it is very important for the teachers today to make learning experience as interesting and fun as possible. But at the same time we have to make sure we don’t not compromise on the standards and values of education and are still on par with other schools and prepare our students for any competition out there. We have heard this all our life “Unity is strength”. Well, we at The Gaudium strongly believe that holds true for our education system. How could diversifying and connecting the school curriculum across different disciplines to create a unifying approach to impart knowledge that benefits our students in all areas of major and minor disciplines not become their strength.