Friday, December 31, 2010

Interdisciplinary Baggage

This is the final "greatest hits" blog post of 2010.  Reconceptualizing our Challenge Based Learning projects was a major turning lexicon breakthrough in our professional development groups.  Our"cross school" teams are still very active designing some great student challenges for next semester, next school year, and beyond. 

 At a recent professional cluster group meeting (PCG), we were wrestling with the difficulties posed by attempting to develop interdisciplinary Challenge Based Learning projects.
As Gerry, a top science teacher, noted: the term  "interdisciplinary" (or multi-disciplinary) is too freighted with baggage.  It immediately invited one to see obstacles to collaboration, since our curriculum is organized by department courses and we are scheduled into department meetings  

We realized that we preferred idea of joining "cross-school" teams to which we bring our entire skill sets as educated adults.  This point of view allowed us to imagine shedding department labels (e.g., "science teacher") and committing to a commonly held passions with other adults and students.  Then, after crafting a challenge with our cross-school teams, we could weave the project into our course curriculum. 

As another astute educator recently remarked to me, "Language is powerful; change is sneaky."   I think Gerry's observation makes it more likely that we accomplish some dynamic changes to our school curriculum.

"collaborative drawing (detail)" Flickr CC photo courtesy of scalefreenetwork 

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