The Successful Interdisciplinary Class Must Secede from the Traditional. Research Brief #24.Report as inadecuate

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The effectiveness of an interdisciplinary approach was evaluated in a suburban high school social studies class that integrated the county's prescribed social studies and English curricula for honors and advanced placement. Focal points for the two teachers were cohesiveness, cooperation, conducive environment, and concept improvement. The class of 23 students contained 13 students representing a variety of actual or potential problems. Data came from student journals and grades for the interdisciplinary class and a comparison group of government and English students at another high school. Many differences were apparent for the two teachers, whose classroom styles were quite different. Instead of concentrating on traditional learning mode and teacher/student interaction, they concentrated on student success as defined by the teacher and teacher success as defined by the student. Cooperative learning was a necessary tool in the interdisciplinary environment. Students who were given a more global education through the interdisciplinary class appeared more confident in accepting leadership roles and personal responsibility. Student grades were also higher than those from comparison students in traditional classes, and student attitudes became more positive as the year went on. Journal writing proved to be a useful tool for evaluation and student learning. (SLD)

Descriptors: Academic Achievement, Advanced Placement, Disadvantaged Youth, English, High School Students, High Schools, Honors Curriculum, Interdisciplinary Approach, Social Studies, Student Journals, Suburban Schools, Teaching Methods

Author: Snidow, Puck; Flanagan, Margaret


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