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 Bill Bigelow/Interdisciplinary Classes 
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When I was reading the Bill Bigelow interview, particularly the part about the co-taught english and US History class, I though what a great idea. Many students in school want to know why things matter, why should they learn it. Interdisciplinary classes seem like a great way to help students make connections between different areas of academia.

In my Art, Crit, and Theory class, a few weeks ago we discussed Clement Greenberg's idea of Modernist Painting which is basically that painting should stay true to its purist form, meaning only using elements that are unique to painting(flatness, non mixed media) and the content should be focused on the formal elements. This excludes artwork's ability to have social or political content and further elements a historical context. It is an idea that has faded as we have left the Modernist period but the idea of pure forms and separation have remained. Even the art department is divided into fibers area, painting area, drawing, etc. Similarly, in many high schools' classes are divided into their purist forms; calculus, American Literature, Biology, etc. Joint classes which make connections between areas, seems like a more effective way to teach.

I think the flaws of joint classes would be that their success would depend largely on how well the teachers work together, and how strong of connections are made. In class we've been discussing higher order thinking skills and how to encourage them. Although it would be a challenge, it seems like one that could be worth taking to encourage critical thinking.

What do y'all think?

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Emily Mackie


Thu Oct 09, 2008 1:52 pm
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I think it is a good idea for classes to be "co-taught." From my perspective, I say why not do it in high school if you do it in elementary school? Through the classes I've taken dealing with elementary eduation, I've learned that we should try to connect every part of the curriculum to each other. If you are teaching history to a group of fourth graders, you can incorporate reading, writing, spelling words, art, and much more into that lesson. This same idea would work with older kids but like Emily said, it would depend on how well teachers work together and if the connections were evident.

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Rebecca D. Evans


Fri Oct 10, 2008 8:32 am
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I think that it would be a great idea to co-teach classes. I do think that it would take a lot of work and cooperation, and at this point I dont think that the schools are ready for something like that. I think that administration would have to bend more than most schools will be willing to bend. I also think that the students would have some trouble adjusting to a "new" way of doing school. I do think that having all of the subjects relate would help students to remember things, and help them to understand subjects better.

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Jerry Nicole Whitener (Nicole)


Fri Oct 10, 2008 10:29 am
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My middle school was really good about doing this. My teachers (especially language arts and social studies) would work really hard to make sure what they were teaching related to the others class. We would also combine classes sometimes and work on projects this way. The whole grade was generally working in "units" and all of the teachers tried to integrate their subject into the content. At the end of most of the units we would have a special day (like Egypt Day, or Native American Day...etc.) and the whole grade would spend the day going from class to class learning about the subject in different ways like food, art, etc. I think integrated learning is great!

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Amanda Klinger


Mon Oct 13, 2008 1:54 pm
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Co-taught classes seem like an effective way to relate multiple subject areas together. The ability to make direct correlations to material taught in two or more classes can greatly increase students ability to learn. Most people learn by making connections, such as sights to words, students that are learning connections between material in two classes would be capable of higher performance on evaluation materials.


Tue Oct 14, 2008 12:29 pm
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