In the recent past, teaching in middle schools has been a complex undertaking. Numerous innovations have emerged due to remarkable restructuring that has taken place in the education sector. One of the most important innovations in the sector is integrated curriculum.
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Teachers in middle schools can decide either to adopt single-subject curriculum, in which they emphasize one curriculum or an integrated curriculum, in which they focus on connections and relationships among curricular areas.
Integrated curriculum has more advantages for both teachers and learners than single-subject curriculum. My position therefore is that teachers in middle schools should adopt integrated curriculum rather than single-subject curriculum.
Integrated curriculum combines different projects and themes, which gives learners an opportunity to understand how various disciplines are connected. This leads to a clearer understanding of the content taught in class and also reduces unnecessary repetition.
Integrated curriculum holds the view that purposeful learning encourages students to participate fully in the learning process. It therefore enables them to attain meaningful learning. The beliefs and ideas that characterize integrated learning do not conform to traditional school structures.
The approach supports the idea that it is not possible to achieve universal truth because there are many possibilities that exist and outcomes can be achieved through various ways. This is an approach that relies on a modern attitude to explain things.
There are several arguments that make integrated curriculum an appropriate approach for middle schools. To begin with, there is a lot of content that should be covered in single-subject approach and in most cases, the content taught is not directly applicable to real life situations.
Students learn best through adoption of an interdisciplinary approach, in which different ideas are interconnected. It is often argued that most subjects have strong connections with subjects in other areas.
Single-subject curriculum does not put into consideration capabilities and needs of learners since it is departmentalized in nature. Integrated curriculum is believed to enhance motivation among students because it focuses on themes that are centered on interests of the students.
The fact that the needs of students are given the first priority in integrated curriculum makes it possible for actual learning in different disciplines to take place (Drake 5).
Proponents of progressive educational reforms held the view that single-subject curriculum made it difficult for learners to understand connections that existed between different subjects. This adversely affected the aim and relevance of the content that was being taught to students.
Integrated curriculum is beneficial to students, teachers and also parents. Stakeholders in the education sector should concentrate on issues related to the students during implementation of integrated curriculum, rather than focusing on connections that do not share a common discipline.
Teachers play an important role in ensuring that students identify connections and the importance that exists between subjects.
An integrated curriculum motivates learners because of its interdisciplinary approach. For instance, it is student-centered in nature, which makes it possible for the approach to focus on the needs of learners. The approach does not emphasize that students should complete tasks in certain ways.
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Instead, it encourages them to make individual conclusions from what they learn. This enables them to interrogate conclusions made by their teachers.
Unlike the single-subject curriculum approach, integrated curriculum gives students an opportunity to think broadly and make connections between different subjects (Drake and Crawford 11).
Integrated curriculum gives learners an opportunity to explore different themes. It enables young adolescents to apply different skills such as computing, research and communication. These skills are emphasized in most middle schools.
Learners can also use other skills such reflective thinking, problem solving, critical ethics and social action. These skills are important since they enable students to develop self esteem. An integrated curriculum involves learners in all learning processes. Learners do not sit passively as they wait to receive information.
They are expected to take responsibility for their own learning by taking part in implementation of integrated curriculum in various ways. For instance, they take part in its planning, selection of content and materials that complement it, as well as selection of appropriate evaluation methods.
Integrated curriculum gives students an opportunity to make meaningful and continuous decisions with regard to their learning. They can modify their learning approaches as they continue with their studies.
This close involvement gives them an opportunity to understand the relationship between curriculum content and their social interests and concerns. In other words, integrated curriculum makes students active participants in the learning process.
Integrated curriculum also focuses on interdisciplinary education, which allows students to easily master content taught in class. In addition, they are able to apply what they learn in school in real life situations (Manning & Bucher, 115).
This facilitates in-depth learning, which is not provided by single-subject curriculum. Integrated curriculum is also beneficial to teachers since it gives them an opportunity to identify interesting areas that they need to explore.
This increases their intellectual capacity. Based on the above discussion, I would support integrated curriculum rather than single-subject curriculum since it gives students an opportunity to make connections between disciplines.
Drake, Suan. Meeting Standards Through Integrated Curriculum. 2013. Web.
Drake, Susan, and R.Crawford. Meeting standards through integrated curriculum, New York: ASCD, 2004. Print.
Manning, Lee, and K. Bucher. Teaching in the Middle School, New York: Allyn & Bacon, Incorporated, 2011. Print.