Friday, 4 May 2018

Learn - Research - Integration from 2017 COL Inquiries

Another thing that some of the COL's inquired into in 2017 was integration across topics, subjects and schools.

Dot did some research at the start of her 2017 inquiry and found:

"The concept of curriculum integration offered by James Beane (1998) involves four major aspects:
  • The integration of experiences uses both past and new experiences to help students understand and solve new problems.
  • Social integration is based on personal and social issues that can be identified in, and developed from, the students’ world. Social integration assists students to apply new ideas and understandings to their daily lives and to the lives of others.
  • The integration of knowledge involves being aware of the ‘big picture’ of learning. When knowledge and skills are connected, rather than fragmented, students begin to see situations as real to themselves and the world they live in.
  • Integration as a curriculum design occurs when students and teachers explore, gather, process, refine and present information about topics they wish to investigate without being constrained to a specific learning area."

Dot continued: 

"One approach which I felt suited our school was the thematic approach.  Because subject content is the starting point for planning, the thematic approach is described as subject-centred. Teachers identify the curriculum content focus and plan how connections will be made.  

On reflection, this approach seemed like the best place for us to start.  It allowed for subject teachers to relate to a theme that they could connect to and therefore base their planning around.  The downside was, it was very teacher focussed and centred."

Dot recognised that each subject is very aware of the short time they have with their students to cover a remarkable amount of curriculum. She mentions: 

"I know each subject area at high school feels that they don't have enough time. So why in the world would you want to have an integrated curriculum when there is never enough time already to do what you have to do?"

Taking these findings on board (as well as the growth of schools such as Hobsonville Point, St Cuthberts y5-9, and Albany Senior High) and considering Dot is now our across-schools COL I feel that integration may play a part in Tamaki College's future, and any changes I make to the junior science curriculum must be able to integrate in a flexible way that doesn't require staff to rewrite entire units or reinvent the wheel with new resources.

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