Integration Article Study Guide


Integration, Interdisciplinary, & Thematic

These three terms are sometimes used synonymously, but other times used to distinguish between different instructional models. The distinction between these terms are sometimes unclear, which results in confusion among educators.

Criticism of Integrated/Thematic

Integrated/Thematic restricts subject matter to themes and problems; Interdisciplinary allows teachers more flexibility

*No empirical support exists for the superiority of organization curricula instruction into integrated or thematic approach

*Research that does exist tends to indicate that students following integrated or thematic approaches develop less subject matter understanding—foundational or conceptual. Subject matter is restricted by the particular theme that is serving framework

*Students need strong foundational knowledge before making meaningful applications. Without strong background in a subject, applications tend to be trivial/superficial.

Within interdisciplinary approach, teacher not restricted by specific focus of a theme

Teacher is flexible to explicitly address critical mathematics and science concepts, principals, processes, and ideas unrelated to a theme but important to disciplines of math or science

Skills/subject matter knowledge is also concern. Teachers possess expertise in limited number of disciplines. Interdisciplinary doesn’t require unrealistic command of multiple subject matters.