Values and Benefits of Interdisciplinary/Cross-Curricular Teaching

Applies, Integrates, and Transfers Knowledge

According to the National Assessment of Educational Progress, while students are learning the basic information in core subject areas, they are not learning to apply their knowledge effectively in thinking and reasoning (Applebee, Langer, & Mullis, 1989).

Interdisciplinary/cross-curricular teaching provides a meaningful way in which students can use knowledge learned in one context as a knowledge base in other contexts in and out of school (Collins, Brown, & Newman, 1989).

Many of the important concepts, strategies, and skills taught in the language arts are "portable" (Perkins, 1986). They transfer readily to other content areas. The concept of perseverance, for example, may be found in literature and science. Strategies for monitoring comprehension can be directed to reading material in any content area. Cause-and-effect relationships exist in literature, science, and social studies. Interdisciplinary/cross-curricular teaching supports and promotes this transfer. Critical thinking can be applied in any discipline.

Increases Motivation

Interdisciplinary/cross-curricular teaching can increase students' motivation for learning and their level of engagement. In contrast to learning skills in isolation, when students participate in interdisciplinary experiences they see the value of what they are learning and become more actively engaged (Resnick, 1989).

Improves Learning

Interdisciplinary/cross-curricular teaching provides the conditions under which effective learning occurs. Students learn more when they use the language arts skills to explore what they are learning, write about what they are learning, and interact with their classmates, teachers, and members of the community (Thaiss, 1986).
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