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,
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.
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).
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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