Are you pressed for time in your classroom? Struggling to cover all the standards in your classes?

Try teaching with integrated instruction!

An integrated curriculum connects different areas of study by emphasizing related concepts across subject matters. Teachers who would like to use differentiation might want to consider using an integrated curriculum, as they two work well together.

This style of curriculum makes it easier for students to make connections and to engage in relevant activities that can be connected to their own lives. (1)

Benefits of Teaching with the Integrated Curriculum Model

Teaching with an integrated curriculum has many benefits. Research has found that integration:

  • Focuses on basic skills, content, and higher-level thinking
  • Provides a deeper understanding of content
  • Encourages active participation in relevant real-life experiences
  • Provides connections among various curricular disciplines
  • Accommodates a variety of learning styles, theories, and multiple intelligences. (2)

Ways to Integrate the Curriculum

Theorists have offered three categories for interdisciplinary work. They say integration is a matter of degree and method. The three categories include Multidisciplinary Integration, Interdisciplinary Integration and Transdisciplinary Integration.

Multidisciplinary Integration: Teachers who use this method focus primarily on the disciplines. They use a central theme, and standards from each subject are selected to support the theme. For example, a unit focused on geocaching that met standards in math, language arts, and science would be multidisciplinary.

Interdisciplinary Integration: The interdisciplinary approach supports standards from different subcategories in one subject area. For example, a unit that integrated reading, writing, and oral communication would be interdisciplinary. Another example might be a unit that integrated history, economics, and geography.

Transdisciplinary Integration: In the transdisciplinary approach, is organized around student questions or a real world topic. A common example of transdisicplinary curriculum is problem-based learning.(3)

Pros and Cons of Using Integrated Learning

There are many arguments for and against this type of approach to teaching. Some of the arguments for integrative curriculum include:

  • There is not enough time in the day to teach everything in isolation.
  • They create a positive and collaborative learning environment.
  • Integrated curriculum is real world – issues in real life are multidisciplinary.
  • They intrinsically motivate students to succeed in real life
  • Students develop higher-level thinking skills. (4)

On the other hand, there are arguments against itegrative curriculum:

  • Lack of time to plan effective units.
  • Teachers are reluctant to put the time and effort into changing what they already do in the classroom to implement something that doesn’t guarantee exceptional results.
  • Teacher collaboration: A successful integrative curriculum involves input from teachers from all different disciplines, such as math, science or social studies. Coordinating schedules and agreeing on ideas across a variety of teachers is often a difficult task.(4)

Next week, watch for integrated curriculum ideas and examples of how you can use it in your classroom! 

Sources Used for this Article:

1. Integrated Curriculum: Definition, Benefits, and Examples by 

2. Integrated Curriculum: A Group Investigation Project, Miami University.

3. What is Integrated Curriculum? by ASCD 

4. Partners in Learning, Miami University. 

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