An Introduction to Integrated Studies

An Introduction to Integrated Studies


>>Teacher: Three-sixty times two->>Narrator: Public education
in America hasn’t changed much since it began in the mid-19th
century with a curriculum adopted from Prussia that featured
reading, writing, and arithmetic, taught in separate
periods, ruled by the clock.>>Ken: In school subjects tend to be hermetically sealed
off from each other. You know so you do science
on a Thursday morning, you do math in the afternoons. And this is really a feature
of education because outside of education people know naturally
that all these things flow in and out of each other, you know, that
disciplines affect each other.>>Teacher: All these digital
photographs actually fill in the missing parts.>>David: We don’t live in an
industrial economy anymore. We live in a knowledge economy so
we have to think about education in a fundamentally different way.>>Teacher: Look where
the water is falling.>>David: We can’t be focusing
on basic facts and basic skills. We have to think about ways
of thinking that are going to matter more than what we do
in traditional schools right now.>>Teacher: You want to
be a photojournalist?>>Narrator: One successful approach to curriculum design is Integrated
Studies which blends various subjects and brings them into
meaningful association and often through projects. Integration provides students with
a depth and breadth of understanding that goes beyond individual
subject matter knowledge.>>Teacher: It’s called the
circumference of the circle, so when you measure around this->>Narrator: At Ferryway
School the Iron Works project which is a collaborative effort of
a dozen teachers integrates math->>Earl: Maybe two millimeters.>>Narrator: Art, English,
history, and science.>>Man: What’s this
simple machine right here?>>Student: Wheel and axle.>>Man: Wheel and axle, right.>>Earl: The project is not
just about the water wheel. It’s not just about
the Saugus Iron Works. It’s about all of the subject areas
being brought together: the rocks and minerals, the simple
machines, the technology concepts.>>Narrator: Brain research supports
the notion that learning increases when information is presented in
meaningful connected patterns.>>Anxhela: It looks like shiny metal.>>If you’re like in different
classes you sometimes forget because your mind is on
one class and then you have to be focused on another class. But when it’s all together you
could just focus on one thing because it’s all the same.>>Narrator: Success in integrated
studies requires flexibility and scheduling and
collaboration among teachers. Studies show that benefits include a
sense of teamwork, a faster retrieval of information, and higher
attendance and homework completion.>>Earl: Here we go!>>Tom: You know, often you don’t
have the chance to show kids that education is real, that there’s
value to it and they get a chance to put that all together and
it’s just wonderful seeing their enthusiasm, and the teachers too. It’s not easy, but we know what the
benefits are so that’s why we do it.>>Earl: We have a lift [cheering]!>>For more information on what works in public education
go to edutopia.org

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