If you want to write a book, the trick is to pay special attention in your English Language Arts classes to become a master writer. Then write it. …Right?
Except publishing a book is a bit more complicated than writing an essay for English class. Think about all that goes into it:
- Properly laying out the pages, including calculating margin size and cover and spine dimensions
- Designing a book cover
- Ensuring proper copyright attributions
- Researching names, places, dates, and events to ensure nonfiction writing is accurate and fiction writing is realistic
- Finding an agent, editor, and/or publisher, preparing letters, emails, and manuscripts, and negotiating pay
And if you talk to someone who’s published a book, whether it’s a cookbook, textbook, or children’s book, you would learn that different books come with different problems, and very few of the problems are covered in English Language Arts classes!
It’s not just writing a book. Imagine trying to develop a vaccine without politics or logistics. Or sell a painting without economics or communications. Our world does not neatly divide itself into clear, distinct subjects the way a school report card might imply.
Integrated Curriculum Definition
As we look to educate the students who will become our next leaders, doers, and thinkers, we have to recognize that we live in a globally integrated world with fast-advancing technology and knowledge that can come from anywhere. There isn’t a single way to integrate subjects, as it depends on the teachers, learners, and environment. So how do you define "integrated curriculum?" There are some common features:
- The same skills are taught across different subject areas.
- Activities have a low floor and high ceiling, providing for a range of interests and abilities.
- Experiences are designed to facilitate connections across the curriculum.
- Learning is thought of as a meaningful whole, with critical and creative thinking given closer attention than isolated skills.
This can be implemented at a more surface level with intradisciplinary integration from two closely related subjects within the same broad discipline, for example, exploring properties of proteins in both chemistry and biology. A deeper approach would be to incorporate big ideas such as creativity or citizenship across different classes. One could also implement a fully transdisciplinary curriculum, which starts with real-world projects, for example improving local pollution or starting a business, and guides student exploration based on personal interests.
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