The nature of interdisciplinarity and its implications for the secondary school in Newfoundland

Chaulk, A. George (1987) The nature of interdisciplinarity and its implications for the secondary school in Newfoundland. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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Abstract

Education in the twentieth century has focused on an instrumental orientation that takes schools beyond the mere transmission of knowledge. A diversified education helps young people to cope with the phenomenal growth of knowledge and a plethora of social problems. Teaching methods and new subjects serve the needs of society and enhance students' ability to synthesize their fragmented educational experiences. -- A traditional curricular structure did not acknowledge the diverse nature of knowledge nor the kinds of debate that society needed to address problems. Curricular models created to reflect disciplinary interests did not mirror the dynamic nature of knowledge or satisfy individual and social expectations of education. -- Interdisciplinarity can dissolve the close partnership between school subjects and the disciplines and also provide a more coherent, responsive curriculum to suit a modern age. Furthermore, it is a reasonable response to the quest for social and personal relevancy. In fact, teaching subject matter in new contexts other than the disciplines is the cornerstone of the interdisciplinary philosophy. -- The interdisciplinary approach helps the individual synthesize his educational experiences into meaningful patterns. Interdisciplinary learning theories postulate that man prefers an inquiry, holistic approach to knowledge. -- These philosophical and psychological themes provide the foundation and framework for the study of interdisciplinarity. -- Interdisciplinarity has historical precedents. The successful curricula projects of the Progressive Education Association reveal challenging information for proponents of unified curricula in the modern school. In fact, all current interdisciplinary activities parallel efforts from the past. -- There are several essential prerequisites to the definition of interdisciplinarity. These are factors that either facilitate or hinder comprehensive analysis of terms. An examination of both the theory and practice of interdisciplinarity provides a philosophical depth to definitions intended to guide the study of interdisciplinarity. -- To focus on the nature of interdisciplinarity, a typology of related terms identifies a continuum of educational experiences that can be classified according to criteria selected to reveal the intensity and scope of the relationships in curricular unification efforts. These distinctive terms are necessary to distinguish among the tremendous varieties of interdisciplinary activities. -- An examination of the development of secondary education in Newfoundland highlights possibilities for an interdisciplinary approach. The revised program has the flexibility, in theory and in practice, to include interdisciplinarity as a viable alternative in both content organization and teaching practices. Skills, themes and problems are organizing principles that guide both the selection of content from all school subjects and classroom activities that unify the curriculum. Significant possibilities exist in Newfoundland's secondary schools for the development and implementation of an interdisciplinary approach to education.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/5205
Item ID: 5205
Additional Information: Bibliography: leaves 247-270.
Department(s): Education, Faculty of
Date: 1987
Date Type: Submission
Geographic Location: Canada--Newfoundland and Labrador
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Interdisciplinary approach in education; Education, Secondary--Newfoundland and Labrador

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