Trends in Teaching

I saw an interesting article yesterday. Science Alert posts an article about Finland’s latest schooling shifts. In a nutshell, Finnish schools will retire the traditional teaching of content in the classroom, replacing it with thematic, integrated learning. They will take a theme, such as “The European Union”, and in this theme, teachers will guide students to appreciate the economy (maths and economics links), politics and history, languages and so forth. The idea being to integrate learning around real life issues, rather than discreet academic subjects.Of course, Finland is the country that dominated the OCED’s PISA (Education) ratings for so long, and having lost that top place, it seems that they might be trying to revolutionise education to once again climb to the top (or am I being cynical?)

But this made me think a lot about trends in education. When I started at my current school, I was exposed to the IB’s MYP Next Chapter curricular approach. Interestingly, I immediately “got it.” I love the idea of a concept-based approach to education, with a focus on integrating academic skills around the tools of a subject, rather than teaching a subject’s tools out of context. Is this trend really that different?

Another school in Hong Kong is reportedly also spearheading this trend. At least once per year, students are given a concept (such as change), and each student has an opportunity to explore this concept in two subjects of his or her choice over a week-long project. Teachers in these subjects support the interdisciplinary project through their own discipline.

This touches on so many aspects of education. As teachers, we complain that students to not integrate skills across subjects, but when last did we push to collaborate with other subjects? When we enter the real world, however, there is no “Economics.” “English.” and “Physics.” Rather, we are forced to integrate our knowledge, acquired across many sources, to survive. Surely we can encourage these skills in our students today.

I am sure that there are many ways for me to do this in my own practice, all it takes is the will to do it, and the time to find the links.

I have work to do.