INTERDISCIPLINARY COLLABORATION

My work interdisciplinary connection map:

inter-map-pic

The term interdisciplinary itself I don’t feel is that new to me as a teacher.  For years it has been suggested that a interdisciplinary curriculum is the best way forward for our students.  Giving students the ability to make connections across all curriculum areas through a central topic is something that myself and my school has been gradually working towards for a couple of years now – it is no easy feat though.

In saying this though, inter and  multidisciplinary collaboration is a new idea for me. This makes complete sense and is something that as teachers we probably do a certain amount without noticing it but I believe if we made a more deliberate attempt to ultilising the skills of those around us for the benefit of our students we would see some awesome results.

Defined by Andrews (1990)  as occurring “when different professionals, possessing unique knowledge, skills, organizational perspectives, and personal attributes, engage in coordinated problem solving for a common purpose”

When I looked at the definition above and sat down to complete my map I noticed that there was a large  similarities between this concept and identifying my communities of practice.  Most of these groups are the same.  Anyone is a school would have quite a large interdisciplinary map it is the outside influences that will be different among staff as that comes down to how much emphasis you place on personal professional development.

When analysing my map and look forward to setting goals it is very apparent to me that when it comes down to developing interdisciplinary collaboration there is one group that working closely with will provide the biggest benefit for my students and that is the one I work day to day with and have the most contact with which is my immediate department and colleagues.  This is where there is the most opportunity for development and progress.  So this will be my ‘near future goal’

THE GOAL:

We have 8 teachers in my department.  I would like to see  us all work collaboratively  to plan a multi curriculum unit with one big over arching question.  I believe it can be done including all curriculum areas.  So far we have only achieved either science or social studies and english.  The biggest challenge is incorporating maths into the unit – this is mainly because we have such a large curriculum that needs to be taught for assessments and national standards but also maths seems to be the hardest to find unique ideas that work.  For the sake of assessments and the fact there is so much curriculum that needs to be covered I think the plan would be best if trialed either within the first half of the first term or at the end of a year.

I believe if we could make this work for one unit it will open doors for many more.  It also opens us up to the idea of working with our senior school departments and using them to plan across the curriculum but also in the future developing units that may extend students to higher levels.  Our students work predominately at level 4 but with the expertise of senior teachers and the resources they have we may be able to extend their learning.

Schools are amazing places with many people with a range of skills and expertise.  A successful school is one where all are aware of this and tap into and utilise these skills of the various groups of people.

together-we-are-stronger

References:

Hardré, P. L., Ling, C., Shehab, R. L., Nanny, M. A., Nollert, M. U., Refai, H., … & Wollega, E. D. (2013). Teachers in an Interdisciplinary Learning Community Engaging, Integrating, and Strengthening K-12 Education. Journal of Teacher Education, 64(5), 409-425.

ACRLog. (2015). A Conceptual Model for Interdisciplinary Collaboration. Retrieved from http://acrlog.org/2015/05/14/a-conceptual-model-for-interdisciplinary-collaboration.

American Association of Colleges of Nursing.(2016). Interdisciplinary Education and Practice. Retrieved from http://www.aacn.nche.edu/publications/position/interdisciplinary-education-and-practice

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