In Common (08/14)

I am interested in having a discussion about the advantages and the benefits of interdisciplinary studies (part 1) while trying to resolve the challenges that limit its implementation (part 2).

"No man is an island entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main"

                                                                                                                               John Donne

Gone is the time when all disciplines could withdraw and live on their islands. Sometimes in education, the perception is that we can all do what we want in the time that we have with the students. Our instructional time with them is OUR time. The emphasis here is on ownership. It can be quality time no doubt, but it is not to be shared with anybody else. We, teachers,  have a legal obligation to teach a specific curriculum but the equation is not complete if we fail to acknowledge that students are all at the same time, throughout the year, shared by multiple teachers.

The fact that every teacher is invested in her/his discipline is what we define current practice. The new challenge arising comes from the need to open the windows for people to see outside their box.While it is long established that teachers are specialists in one or two disciplines, the truth of the matter is that now with our interconnected world not one discipline can justify living in an isolating bubble.

So what is stopping teachers from working together? One option could be that they have little desire to explore or share outside of their own discipline. A second option is that they don't really have time to commit to learning and sharing with someone else. A third could be that they bluntly don't see the point because the meeting of outcomes of their own subject area(s) is more important than anything else.

Someone has to communicate the big picture of education. We are all working together towards the benefit of each student regardless of their talents, skills, abilities, inclinations, or desires. Hardly anybody could argue against that statement but one would ask: " why isn't it happening then?" And I am one of those asking that very question.