Do you ever wonder exactly HOW children learn?
The present system of education follows a building block principle. In this, each subject has its own block of time, usually restricted to one part of the course.
The early curriculum is expected to lay foundation for the other subjects that follow. It is left to the students to solve the jigsaw puzzle. Let us see an example. It you give the students individual ingredients of a cake – flour, egg and sugar to eat, even if you force them to swallow it, will they be able to digest it? On the other hand, it you mix the ingredients, blend it well and bake it – the students would love to eat it and definitely will have no problem to digest it.
There were flaws on the system, that is sometimes there is unnecessary repetition of teaching, disjointed approach to teaching, and confusion in student’s mind due to difference in opinion which in turn leads to disunity and hence the subject as a whole is never grasped. This discourages students from learning and they get disinterested in applying the knowledge achieved into practice.
What was lacking?
Integration was lacking. Integrated curriculum in education is organize in such a way that it cuts across subject-matter lines, bringing together various aspects of the curriculum into meaningful association to focus upon broad areas of study. It views learning and teaching in a holistic way and reflects the real world, which is interactive. It aims at giving the students a holistic instead of a fragmented outlook on his studies. Thus the topics can be presented in a more meaningful way. This overcomes the separation in the students mind between form and function of the system concerned, its diseases, their diagnosis, therapy and social and preventive aspects.
Integration is defined as organization of teaching matter to interrelate or unify subjects frequently taught in separate academic courses or departments.
Using an integrated curriculum to teach is a strategy based on the premise that learning is a series of connections. The integrated curriculum can be beneficial to teachers and students, using theme teaching, projects, and units to cover a variety of material and effectively teach many concepts and skills. This approach allows children to learn in a way that is most natural to them. Teachers can create a good deal of their curriculum by building webs made up of themes of interest to the children, with benefits for all. These benefits include more adequate coverage of curriculum, use of natural learning, and building on children’s interests, teaching skills in meaningful contexts, more flexibility, and an organized planning device.
Integration is possible if departmental (both intradepartmental and inter-departmental) barriers are completely broken down and the curriculum will be revamped.
Many of our nation’s schools, colleges, and leisure services organizations are offering programs that focus on basic skills instruction in a variety of outdoor adventure pursuits. These programs are design to provide participants with opportunities for challenge and adventure in a natural setting, emphasizing safe and environmentally sound traveling and camping practices.
Instructional objectives for these programs are usually based on three primary areas – the psychomotor, cognitive, and affective domains.
Merrill’s three level strategies in integrated teaching were under in these Bloom’s domain of learning. Fact and concept level is under the cognitive domain, where in on the fact level it includes specific information on details, isolated facts, events, and the learning of very basic skills; while on the concept level, the principles supporting the facts were explored, generalizations were made from the information gathered, and if skills were involved, more complex skills were introduced and practiced. At this level, the teacher encourages the students to explore the principles behind the facts and student is encourage to put pieces of different facts together so that generalizations can be made from the gathered data. However, nothing is really accomplished until the student is guided to the values level. Values level is under the affective domain which is use to develop attitudes, values, and feelings towards particular issues or ideas, including attitudes towards the environment. At this level the subject matter is integrated into students’ lives, and students are encourage to think, feel, and act on their concerns, attitudes, and experiences. At this level the student is made to relate the facts and concepts to his or her own life (i.e., “What does this have to do with me?”). At the values level the student is forced to explore the connection between the subject matter and his or her own behavior.
We know that integrated teaching units work for children and teachers, and we can look for ways to “integrate” new ideas with our already effective teaching units. These integrated units allow us the opportunity to make sure children are learning relevant information and applying that knowledge to real life scenarios. That is why in our lesson plans; we integrate the three domains including the psychomotor domain to have a holistic learning.
Integration not only done with these three domains or three domains, it can also be done across many disciplines. That is interdisciplinary teaching, where we connect one subject to another in just one lesson only (e.g. teaching science but we incorporate math, language, social science and values into it). Thus, integrated teaching promotes the development of multiple intelligences, where varied learning styles and daily experiences of the learners were tackled. It also means empowering learners to become lifelong learners and active makers of meaning.