Hear From Teachers
[A Lesson Study Story]
Each winter term, the teachers at the Dr. Eric Jackman Institute of Child Study Laboratory School engage in Japanese Lesson Study, a collaborative form of professional development. Working together to discuss conceptual ideas, lesson content, and teaching strategies, the teachers develop a lesson to be taught to students. The lesson is taught in a public lesson setting with students and then debriefed with all teachers and visitors through pedagogical dialogue.
This year, a group of teachers from all different grade levels came together to plan a lesson surrounding the concept of recycling. It was agreed upon by teachers that we would begin by asking students and adults alike their thoughts on recycling. It was agreed at every level that recycling is a good thing. However, when we pursued the topic, asking how recycling works, what it might look like, and where it happens, the answers became increasingly vague and non-committal. Research, as well as our own experience, suggests this lack of information is widely reflected in the general population amongst children and adults. It might be argued, that once we as consumers dispose of an object in the recycling bin, we believe our job is done; we have done our bit to save the Earth.
What is Integrated Learning?
Integrated Learning is an approach that seeks to make learning 'whole'. What are the benefits of Integrated Learning? By transcending disciplinary borders, an interconnected view of the curriculum promotes:
a stronger grasp of each subject's purpose and varied applications
a deeper understanding of any one topic by exploring it through multiple perspectives
a greater appreciation for the integrated manner in which subjects, skills, ideas, and different perspectives connect to the larger world
improved skills in systems-thinking
By making the learning experience at school 'whole' through Integrated Learning, a student's outlook of the larger world can also be made 'whole. Learning to see the interconnections of all aspects of life ultimately becomes a habit-of-mind that will serve them well throughout their lives. (Natural Curiosity, p.43)