How Cross-Curricular Learning Delivers Real-World Value to Your Child
For some schools, the recent mode of e-Learning has been a very siloed environment for learning, with kids sitting at home in front of their computers, connecting to their courses and learning one subject at a time. However, the cross-curricular aspect of the International Baccalaureate (IB) programme has students at IB schools connecting their eLearning across disciplines, making learning at home more engaging, exciting and tangible. We reached out to Fairgreen International School to find out more about the benefits of this learning system for children.
At Fairgreen International School, which offers the IB programme, learning across disciplines is an integral aspect of the curriculum among all grade levels. Teachers coordinate themes and units so that students can learn topics from different angles and in more authentic contexts. This cross-curricular learning experience helps students take what they are learning and apply it in various aspects of their lives, helping them gain a broader understanding of a given topic and to find more unique solutions to challenges they are looking to solve. Explaining more about cross-curricular learning (also known as ‘transdisciplinary learning’) and why it’s vital to education, Fairgreen’s Curriculum Director David Gerber says:
“Cross-curricular learning is the way we learn in the real world. Oftentimes, we are presented with challenges requiring knowledge of multiple subject areas. Transdisciplinary learning teaches students to evaluate the skills they have, pull from this tool box of knowledge and then synthesise those skills with knowledge from other disciplines.”
Architects often use mathematics, trigonometry and geometry in addition to skills in video, arts and aesthetics. Many jobs require people to have knowledge of multiple subject areas in order to thrive and be successful. Even with jobs that seem very specialized, the employee that is able to understand their specialization in multiple contexts will have the advantage over those who think only within their discipline.
Our students are taught to apply an array of subject-specific skills in learning experiences offered in their Unit of Inquiry projects, STEM and specialised ‘Design, Engineer Construct’ courses, and through service learning projects, all requiring a variety of knowledge for planning, design and implementation.
IB schools implement unit topics, such as ‘Where We Are in Place and Time’ or ‘How the World Works,’ and then students will study these topics using skills they are learning in different subjects. They will answer queries relating to the unit topic with solutions pulled from a breadth of knowledge. By learning across this vast spectrum, students are able to come up with their own unique generalizations based on wide-ranging evidence they have learned along their journey.
There are multiple ways of finding solutions to challenges and the most innovative ways are being solved by people that have a view of the big picture. If students are taught throughout their schooling that they need to learn through a transdisciplinary nature, then they will be much more equipped to think outside the box and innovate bigger and better solutions to the world’s problems.
Research on tertiary education reform reveals that the most important aspect of education is not the imparting of specific knowledge, but rather the learning of how to find knowledge when it is needed, how to assimilate that knowledge, how to integrate that knowledge, and how to synthesize new ideas and solve problems. It isn’t important that we teach kids the answer when they don’t know something – it is important that we teach and equip them with the tools to DO something when they don’t know. By teaching them to pull, or synthesize, from different disciplines, we are able to create a more ‘clear’ understanding of the world, which they can use to build on once they leave school.
The cross-curricular aspect of an IB education allows educators to recognise and foster the diverse capabilities of their students, to look beyond their intellectual capabilities to also their physical, social, artistic and cultural interests and understandings. By recognising the whole child in different aspects of their capabilities, we make learning relevant and engaging, enabling them to connect to different parts of the world.”
Fairgreen International School Virtual Open Day on Monday, June 15
For further information: Join Fairgreen International School’s upcoming Virtual Open Day on Monday, June 15, at 11 a.m. Curriculum Director David Gerber, alongside Director Graeme Scott and Principals Seema Desai and Matt Greenwood, will be presenting on ‘Growing the Brightest Students.’
Learn how cross-curricular learning embedded into their IB programme helps best prepare your child for life-long learning and success in the real world.