Discuss about the Integrated Learning for Knowledge and Information.
In the era of technological advancements, students are obliged to encounter new problems, knowledge, and information in their routine lives. For this reason, they are supposed to exhibit the ability to synthesize both previous and new knowledge including the challenges that they encounter daily as in the case of the fire that broke out at Brown Coal Primary School (Lin et al., 2014). According to existing literature, engaging in problem solving and independent thinking as suggested by Miss Newcombe in the case study is essential for students because it boost critical thinking skills and enhances their well-being. Having critical thinking skills help students in solving issues they are subjected to in their learning environments. Due to lack of critical thinking skills, students in the case study failed to manage an open cut coal mine fire which resulted in the school being closed down for ten days. For this reason, it is important for experts in the educational field to design learning strategies that allow students to take part in problem-based tasks and independent thinking. One such strategy is integrated learning.
Critical Analysis of Integrated Learning
The global economy is increasingly becoming dynamic, and it revolves around exchange and development of information and knowledge. Collaboration, critical reasoning, adaptability, and creativity are skills that are valued in today’s competitive environment (Sung, Hwang & Chang, 2015). These skills can be complemented in the classroom via integrative learning. Through integrated learning, students comprehend the importance of interrelationship and the development of multifaceted expertise in addressing real-life challenges (Ruiz & Jime?nez, 2009). Integrated studies also referred to as interdisciplinary studies focuses on bringing together various subjects in an all-inclusive manner with the primary objective of allowing students to create a meaningful comprehension of the multifaceted influences and associations within a topic. The use of integrated learning makes learning institutions more productive and exciting for both teachers and students. For instance, inviting a fire expert to discuss the fire issue is a brilliant idea. However, to enhance the well-being of students, it is important to involve them in the discussion about the causes of fire and how they can handle fire incidents at school in case they occur again.
The use of integrated learning techniques will result in numerous benefits for the students at Brown Coal Primary School. For instance, it increases retention, understanding, and the application of various concepts in handling fire issues. Integrated learning will also help students view the fire issue from different perspectives, hence increasing their ability to think creatively and critically, make decisions and synthesize information beyond their area of specialization (Dalton-Puffer, 2007). The strategy will also help students in identifying, assessing, and transferring the needed information for solving emerging issues. Integrated learning also increases motivation and promotes collaborative learning (Naude & Bezuidenhout, 2015). In this context, students through integrated learning take part in relevant and purposeful learning.
Integrated learning allows students to see the interrelationships and interconnectedness between distinct curriculum areas and focus on developing skills around a specific theme that applies to students. As an inquiry approach, integrated learning allows students to participate in researching, interpreting, communicating, and processing learning among themselves and their tutors. However, for these benefits to be realized, an efficient feedback system must be designed and must mirror the needs of students.
Role of Teachers in Integrated Learning
The primary role of teachers in integrated learning is to help students via an educational process to establish connections and consequently meaning of information. Therefore, it is the obligation of teachers at Brown Coal Primary School to ensure that learning is student centered. Karaman and Özen (2016) contend that no single teaching strategy suits all students because they exhibit distinct learning styles. For this reason, teachers are advised to utilize a wide range of strategies that meets the distinct needs of students. In fact, a majority of teachers are realizing the significance of teaching from a thematic or interdisciplinary point of view.
Conclusively, integrated learning provides students with the necessary skills to address various issues they face in their environment. The skills obtained from integrated learning are needed in the 21st century and they include excellent communication skills, critical thinking skills, decision-making, visualization and social and personal responsibility.
From the activity, I have learned the importance of taking into consideration the needs of students when designing a teaching method. From reading the case study, I realized that individuals in the education sector exhibit different opinions regarding the method that best suits students when it comes to learning various subjects. According to the principle’s point of view, students should address issues from a scientific perspective whereas Mr. Benjamin advocates for the school to invite an expert in a certain area to educate students. However, Miss Newcombe prefers a teaching method that focuses on enhancing the well-being of students.
As a student in the 21st- century class, I prefer student-centered learning compared to the conventional approach where the instructor taught and students were expected just to watch and listen. However, with a student-centered approach, teachers provide us with the opportunity to answer questions, solve problems, and engage in various debates (Crumly et al., 2014). Additionally, this approach to teaching enables us to develop our critical thinking skills through brainstorming sessions. Besides, students-centered approach to learning provides students with an opportunity to address issues from distinct point of views which might challenge or reinforce teachers’ arguments (Gonzales & Young, 2015).
Crumly, C., Dietz, P., D'Angelo, S., & Ingram, L. (2014). Pedagogies for Student-Centered Learning : Online and On-Gound. Minneapolis, Minnesota: Fortress Press.
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Gonzales, L., & Young, C. (2015). Delivering the 'WOW'-redesigning learning environments. Leadership, 45(2), 28-32.
Karaman, M. K., & Özen, S. O. (2016). A Survey of Students' Experiences on Collaborative Virtual Learning Activities Based on Five-Stage Model. Journal Of Educational Technology & Society, 19(3), 247-259.
Lin, C., Chen, W., Yang, S., Xie, W., & Lin, C. (2014). Exploring students' learning effectiveness and attitude in Group Scribbles-supported collaborative reading activities: a study in the primary classroom. Journal Of Computer Assisted Learning, 30(1), 68-81.
Naude, L., & Bezuidenhout, H. (2015). Moving on the continuum between teaching and learning: communities of practice in a student support programme. Teaching In Higher Education, 20(2), 221-230.
Ruiz, . Z. Y., & Jime?nez, C. R. M. (2009). Content and language integrated learning: Evidence from research in Europe. Bristol, UK: Channel View Publications.
Sung, H., Hwang, G., & Chang, H. (2015). An integrated contextual and web-based issue quest approach to improving students' learning achievements, attitudes and critical thinking. Educational Technology & Society, (4), 299.