Teachers, for the longest time, have been doing the learning assignments for their students. They ask questions yet they often provide the answers to these same questions. Examples are also provided by teachers as are the details and content.Student development is hampered in the process since all they have to do is to take note of the spoon-fed knowledge without having practical applications and practice.
Learner-centered environment which is fostered inside multigrade classes using integrated curriculum paves the way for students to solve problems on their own, argue at times, evaluate evidences, come up with hypotheses, in essence, to think on their own. In this environment, there is no teacher assumption that students will eventually catch up or learn skills on their own.
Self-assessment and reflection are very much a part of learner-centered education. Challenges are posed so students take responsibility for their learning (e.g. assigned reading). An eventuality is that they become aware that they are learners and not just hearers of knowledge. Development is key to measuring the improvement in one’s skills and knowledge.
What’s great about integrated curriculum is that it is backed by research. Many researchers have proven that integrated curriculum causes intellectual curiosity to be piqued, thus, there is an improvement towards decision-making and problem-solving skills, as well as students’ positive attitude towards schooling.
Making Integrated Learning Relevant: An Application
It is believed that altering the curriculum from traditional to integrated is no guarantee that it automatically becomes relevant. So how do I make the lessons I learned in this module stick? And how would my students and I benefit from them?
As a long time teacher of religion and theology class, I would like to believe that my classes underwent a series of changes. As I learned teaching approaches and strategies from my previous U.P. courses and combined them with the changes made in our church curricula, there has been a significant improvement in our discussions and group activities. At the end of every semester, students answer essay-type questions regarding their learning; here, they get a free rein on how to answer the questionnaire. Their answers reflect how much more they now appreciate the lesson presentations. In essence, they’ve become critical thinkers rather than students who relied solely on lectures.
There are two meanings of integrated curriculum for me as a teacher – both positive and negative. The positive aspects I have already expressed, including the acknowledgement of diversity in my class and culture appreciation. As for the negative aspect (or I believe the more appropriate term is challenge), I now spend more time preparing my lessons, taking into consideration the fact that various activities must be infused for the different intelligences that are about to be taught. Though time management became more stringent, it made me happier – it made my class happier. Everyone understood the core of the lessons and they now see the practical applications.
Experiences vary, though, as there are those who expressed anxiety in dealing with ambiguity. Yet it all takes getting used to. My classes have said goodbye to dependency and passive learning. They’re not perfect but the newfound democracy in learning is slowly addressing the gaps that we used to experience.
Module 2 References
Tau, E. P. (n.d.). Models of Curriculum Integration. Retrieved October 12, 2016, from https://scholar.lib.vt.edu/ejournals/JOTS/Summer-Fall-1999/Loepp.html