Monday, 10 October 2016

My Interdisciplinary Connection Map - Activity 7

One of the potential connections from my map as my near future goal is using Twitter more effectively. I like the simplicity of Twitter as readers are given a brief blog. Posts are limited to 140 characters and can be sent from and received via text messaging in addition to traditional desktop applications.  Most of my parents have Twitter accounts and it would be a quick way to share with them relevant links to their child’s learning.
The Ministry of Education’s (2016) guide for Using social media to connect with your community  highlights that social media can help you:
  • direct your parents and community back to more information on your website
  • respond quickly to incidents and manage risks
  • weave the school messages through online spaces that your community uses in ways that are relevant to them
  • grow your understanding of how people use online tools to help you manage inappropriate communications or privacy settings.
A discussion about how information is shared would need to take place with my principal, staff and BOT. I would also check our School Docs page for any relevant procedures to follow and I would also seek support from my Mind Lab Google + Communities as they may have been through a similar issue using Twitter in their classroom.

An interdisciplinary environment as described by Jones (2009) is able to combine more than one discipline and creates teams of teachers and students. Connections are made across subject areas, while also allowing reflection on their own personal experiences. When students see how things connect they can see that their learning has a purpose which should help them be more motivated. Mathison & Freeman (1997) suggest that interdisciplinary/integrated/integrative approaches are not simply attempts to combine two or more knowledge bases, but they are more inquiry oriented, hands-on, and connected to the real world.
A disadvantage of an interdisciplinary curricula is it is time consuming and takes collaborative teamwork to create. Jones (2009) highlighted that this form of teaching can create problems such as lack of sufficient time for collaboration work. In my collaborative team we currently have no time allocated for planning. As I work with two other teachers (as they work part time) I have to manage their classroom programmes over the week and identify any issues or learner’s needs before they become too big to resolve.

Another issue for teachers as identified by Barton & Smith (2000) is selecting what content is covered. Within the two classrooms I work in there is an ongoing discussion and at times we operate as individual classrooms as we try to cater for the different abilities/needs of our students. For finding resources libraries can help compile sets of books, and video materials. But consideration of what other options are available when resources are not readily available. Our management team sets a curriculum plan over three years. If a topic doesn’t get covered or enough time isn’t spent on a topic it can also create further issues about what takes priority. Having a one size fits all approach doesn’t work across the school so we try to have general topics and make them age and content specific to the learners.
Research demonstrates that an interdisciplinary curriculum can help students learn recognize that there are a variety of perspectives that can be considered in an effort to understand most issues as students reach beyond the typical constraints of a single content area.  As learners engage in interdisciplinary learning deeper learning can be fostered through critical thinking creativity, collaboration and communication skills. All of which are part of the partnership for 21st century skills. (Lacoe Edu, 2014).

Barton, K. C., & Smith, L. A. (2000). Themes or motifs? Aiming for coherence through interdisciplinary outlines. The Reading Teacher, 54(1), 54-63.1.
Jones, C.(2009). Interdisciplinary approach - Advantages, disadvantages, and the future benefits of interdisciplinary studies. ESSAI7 (26), 76-81. Retrieved from
Lacoe Edu (2014, Oct 24) Interdisciplinary Learning [video file]. Retrieved from
Mathison,S.. & Freeman, M.(1997). The logic of interdisciplinary studies. Presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association, Chicago, 1997. Retrieved from

Ministry of Education (nd). Using social media to connect with your community. Retrieved from


  1. Kia ora Dion. I have read a few posts on Interdisciplinary connections and nearly every teacher notes that a disadvantage is the time factor. I wonder if having a conversation to SLT about having planning days over the course of the year to support the design, structure, reflection and sharing of information to help make I.C a useful format 'could/would' work? I might talk to my HOF again. We have talked around how we could be timetabled so that students can be ART students and kind of work on projects like the School Production and learning around areas of interest and aligning those to Achievement Standards. For example a student may be able to complete a music piece, perform in a group dance and design the set (some scenes) to accumulate a myriad of learning. I would like it to be Authentic Learning - but again, I feel like this would require lots of touching base with the other Art staff......where and how can we find that time if it is not scheduled in from SLT? Big and EXCITING questions for Term 4 planning for 2017!!!! Any suggestions??

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    2. Hi Sera, thank for your post. We have an opportunity to make new connections across the learners in our primary school when the majority of our students opt into kapahaka or choir and the remaining students are back in class. We have been discussing for a while now for a languages programme or digital technology programme happening at the same time. I think your suggestion for touching base with other Art staff and the SLT is a great way forward. Getting the students input through a survey could be valuable also. I have been implementing programmes that I haven't been able to in the daily timetable in these Arts times as I have recognised this time as an authentic opportunity to create projects that relate to the interests of my students. I love your ideas that link to the school production. A could see a timetabled Arts time working as it gives a formal time frame for students to work in.

    3. Hi Dion and Sera. First of all Dion, your Blog has been very helpful with ideas and consolidation of what I am doing in my own programme. With regards to Sera and her comment. I concur with your thoughts of talking to your SLT. During our school production I had a lot of students out of my class. I decided to run an Arts programme parallel to the production. The students who were left in class had the opportunity to design the set, props and programme. We delved into advertisements for the production and researched the theatrical environment. This was a true and authentic learning experience. I would suggest this to any team, who might be doing a production.

  2. Hi Dion,

    Like Sera and yourself, I also see the time constraints when wanting to teach in a more collaborative manner. I know the use of the google suite has helped this, with there being no need to be in the same room or working at the same time. Another contributing factor to collaborative teaching failing is relationships between teaching staff - I believe there needs to a be a really good working relationship for them to be truly collaboratively effective.

    My nirvana in the sky is teaching a subject-less classroom where all subject blend in. There are few things in life that are segregated this way and I don't see why school has been or needs to continue to be. I really like some of the ideas you've put forward in the comments section here - definitely the right way forward :)