What are the benefits of interdisciplinary learning? This student-authored post is part of a series that highlights student perspectives around learning and executive function in the classroom.
I will start by saying that I have had few encounters with interdisciplinary learning. What I have gathered from those few experiences has led me to a favorable view of the practice.
In my experience, interdisciplinary learning is when students are taught a topic or idea through multiple subjects. For instance, learning about the dangers of climate change from a scientific perspective in science class while reading a dystopian novel based on climate change in English.
As someone with ADHD, it can be hard for me to focus on anything, let alone the thousands of facts I’m supposed to know in any given week. I feel this becomes more complex because my different classes seem to have no relevance to each other.
For example, this year my English class was reading a book on World War II, while at the same time my history class was teaching us about apartheid in South Africa. This was difficult for me because I would get the dates and facts about the two time periods mixed up in my head. If these two classes had synced up their curriculums, I could have spent less time focusing on remembering mere facts and more time on essential skills.
Another benefit of interdisciplinary learning is that it allows me to link different topics together. In school, teachers will tell me to draw from experiences that I’ve had or issues I’ve already learned about to influence my understanding of what I’m learning. But often, I find that my experience or previous education is not relevant to what I’m studying. Going in-depth on one topic and teaching it through multiple classes would allow me to draw more of those connections, even if I don’t have prior knowledge of the topic.
Join us this November for the 36th Annual Executive Function Conference, which will focus on promoting resilience and equity for ALL students.
- C. Solomon, Student Contributor
SMARTS Executive Function Curriculum: smarts-ef.org
Research Institute for Learning and Development: researchild.org
The Institute for Learning and Development: ildlex.org