Interdisciplinary curriculum: A sustainable future or an unattainable vision in a changing educational climate?

Year: 2008

Author: Godinho, Sally, Shrimpton, Bradley

Type of paper: Refereed paper

The aim of this paper is to provide snapshots of the findings of a small research project that explored the implementation of interdisciplinary curriculum in Year 8 classes in a co-educational, independent school. A qualitative case study (Stake, 2005) strategy was adopted to seek teacher and student perspectives on the implementation of an interdisciplinary unit, which were elicited from video-taped focus group interviews. The dialogic stance used for the focus groups aligned with the dialectic — a more formalised inquiry approach that encouraged participants to theorise their perspectives (Thomas & James, 2006). The interdisciplinary unit generated excitement and intellectual stimulus among students and teachers. We believe, however, that the success of the unit can be attributed to the curriculum learning experiences crossing but not transcending disciplinary boundaries (Strathern, 2006). It is the process of honouring disciplinary understandings before the interdisciplinary connection that suggests the likelihood of this curriculum design being sustained.