Ripples and tsunamis to curriculum integration: A comparative case study

Year: 2005

Author: Rennie, Leonie, Shefflied, Rachel, Venville, Grady, Wallace, John

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

The purpose of this paper is to address issues that are raised about curriculum integration including the difficulty of implementation and concerns about student learning. The theoretical framework is underlain by the recognition of context, the needs of the students and the skills and knowledge of the teachers involved. The two schools that participated included a purpose built middle school and a traditional high school. Each school implemented a science-based, integrated project. The results demonstrated how the school philosophy impacted on the scope of the project and the kind of student learning that resulted. In the traditional high school the scope of the project was limited to one class and student learning was focussed on the content and processes of science. In the middle school the scope of the project was much broader with a whole learning community of 5 classes becoming involved. Learning in this school reflected a more integrated and worldly vision of knowledge. The conclusion is that curriculum integration does not necessarily rely on completely dissolving disciplinary boundaries, but on a degree of integration that fits the needs in the local context - both ripples and tsunamis of curriculum integration can lead to success.