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    Interdisciplinary & Multi-disciplinary in Curriculum Design

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    What is the difference between interdisciplinary and multi-disciplinary in curriculum design?

    What is an unfocused design and why is it important to understand its concept?

    How can you as a teacher introduce an interdisciplinary design into your curriculum?

    Why do so many people think all American Indian people are the same?

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    What is the difference between interdisciplinary and multi-disciplinary in curriculum design?

    In an interdisciplinary curriculum design, interdisciplinary or process skills such as research, numeracy or literacy are the foundations in organizing and designing of curriculum for two or more subject areas. Based on these skills, connections are made and content is provided through teaching concepts that cut across subject areas. An example of this is teaching grammar, e.g., present tense of verbs. In English, the classes go on as usual, with a motivation and some activities on present tense of verbs. In other subject such as Science, Social Studies, Mathematics, the students can practice using present tense of verbs in the discussion and activities regarding the lessons.
    Multidisciplinary curriculum is used when two or more subjects are organized and prepared in relation to a common theme, e.g., "pioneers" or other disciplines that are viewed as "lenses" to be used in exploring an issue. This type of curriculum is used to explicitly connect across subject areas. An example of a multidisciplinary curriculum is an integration of Science, Mathematics and English in the classes.

    What is an unfocused design and why is it important to understand its concept?
    An unfocused curriculum design consists of a list of broad topics to be covered of which have very little coherence. It's important to know about this because low-achieving countries have this type of curricula which cover long lists of topics in textbooks and in teaching methods which makes them appear disjointed and episodic. Teachers and textbooks present topics with many topics prescribed by the curricula with the attempt to cover all of them during the school year but not much effort can be done in exploring the relationships between these topics. Since ideas are not unified, it results in a loss of relationships between ideas which makes students think that these disciplines are disconnected notions that are not part of a disciplinary whole.

    How can you as a teacher introduce an interdisciplinary design into your curriculum?

    Here are a few classroom activities based on an interdisciplinary curriculum design:
    ? Third graders go to a field trip to a forest and after the trip, they write about the connections that they have made during the trip and in their classroom plant study. IN this activity, the teacher attempts to use Science, English and Maths in an integrated field study.
    ? A classroom taught through team-teaching by Maths and Social Sciences teachers, students are asked to work on computation techniques based from ancient Egypt and they compare them to modern Mathematics. Students talk about ancient Maths in its historical context and they reflect on the past and the present Mathematics, how the changes have happened, and the meaning of "modernity".

    Why do so many people think all American Indian people are the same?
    Inaccurate information causes bias about American Indians. The realities about American Indian people have been distorted and oversimplified. Even in the classroom, stylized classroom accounts of Indian life still reinforce "buckskin and feather" and this type of instruction develops a misguided impression of Indians. It is important that accurate information be disseminated because lack of knowledge about American Indians by the future American generation won't serve the country well. In some textbooks, movies and TV shows, American Indians have been generalized and their dignity has been overlooked which results in a disgrace of their heritage.

    References retrieved as of July 2010:
    http://www.answers.com/topic/curriculum
    http://webserver3.ascd.org/handbook/demo/2003integcurr/sectioni.html
    http://www.thirteen.org/edonline/concept2class/interdisciplinary/demonstration.html
    http://www.ericdigests.org/pre-9217/indians.htm

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