24/09/2019 17:09 PM IST
What is integrated learning? It is the process of making connections among concepts and experiences so that the information and skills can be applied to novel and complex issues or challenges. In simple words, integrated learning means combining what is learnt in schools, colleges, and universities with the solution of real-world problems for real-world issues.
In a school environment, integrated learning is a learning theory describing a movement toward integrated lessons helping learners make connections across curricula. Students learn to apply skills taught in one class or subject to concepts taught in another. An integrated approach allows learners to explore, gather, process, refine and present information about topics they want to investigate without the constraints imposed by traditional subject barriers. It encourages students to see the interconnectedness and interrelationships between the curriculum areas. It has been found that rather than focusing on learning in isolated curriculum areas, an integrated program is based on skill development around a particular theme that is relevant to the learners in the class. Integral to the model of integrated learning is the 'inquiry approach'. Inquiry approach allows learners to construct meaning using prior on a subject and new knowledge gained during the learning process.
Why does integrated learning matter? In today's global economy, where information is available at one's fingertips, in order to succeed in multiple, changing environments, one must develop the intellectual flexibility and adaptability to incorporate varied sources of information into their decision-making. Individuals who prosper are those who are fluent in several disciplines and are comfortable moving among them. Creativity, adaptability, critical reasoning and collaboration are highly valued skills. The sooner young learners are taught these skills the better. When it comes to fostering them in the classroom, integrated study is an extremely effective approach, helping young minds to develop multi-faceted expertise.
Integrated studies, sometimes called inter-disciplinary studies brings together diverse disciplines in a comprehensive manner making school more interesting and productive for both students and teachers. The many advantages to this approach make this kind of a learning model ideal in school systems. Increased understanding of concepts, better retention, increased ability to make decisions, think critically and creatively, enhanced ability to identify, assess and transfer significant information required for problem-solving and increased motivation, to name a few.
Young learners do not experience the world in parts e.g. the math part, the science part or the English part. They, like all of us, live in a truly interdisciplinary fashion. It is our responsibility as educators and parents to provide them with the tools needed for them to succeed as adults in this ever-changing world.
Teacher, BHIS Santacruz