What is Integrated Studies

Why Should Schools Embrace Integrated Studies?: It Fosters a Way of Learning that Mimics Real Life

Individuals who are fluent in numerous fields and comfortable moving among them will do well in today’s dynamic global economy, which is oriented on the development and interchange of knowledge and information. Skills such as originality, adaptability, deductive reasoning, and the ability to work well with others are extremely valuable. When it comes to developing these skills in the classroom, integrated study is an exceptionally useful method. It enables students to build knowledge in a variety of areas and to understand the significant role that interrelationships can play in the actual world.

Students are given the opportunity to develop a meaningful understanding of the intricate associations and influences that are contained within a topic through the use of integrated studies, also known as interdisciplinary studies. Integrated studies bring together a variety of academic fields in an all-encompassing manner. This technique, which is frequently combined with project-based learning, has the happy side effect of making school more exciting and productive for both students and teachers. This is a good byproduct of this strategy.

An thorough research report published in 1997 titled “The Logic of Interdisciplinary Studies” found widespread agreement among dozens of scholars regarding what the report referred to as the “good educational outcomes” for students who participated in an integrated-studies programme:

a deeper comprehension, enhanced memorization, and more effective application of overarching ideas.
A more complete understanding of the global interdependencies, the growth of diverse views, points of view, and values, as well as an overall improvement in grasp of these concepts.
enhanced abilities to make judgments, think critically and creatively, and synthesise knowledge from a variety of fields and fields of study.
a much improved capacity to recognise, evaluate, and convey significant information, which is required for the solution of unique issues.
Encouragement of collaborative education as well as development of a more positive outlook on oneself as a student and as a contributing member of one’s community
Enhanced capacity for self-motivation
Every day at High Tech High in San Diego, California, one integrated-studies success story is being acted out. The school’s interdisciplinary curriculum and project-based learning have helped the school’s graduates gain acceptance to college at a rate of one hundred percent, with eighty percent of those students enrolling in four-year institutions. High Tech High’s founding principal and current CEO, Larry Rosenstock, explains that the school’s approach is not an end in itself but rather “a means of restructuring the American high school experience for kids.” High Tech High was one of the first schools in the country to implement a computer-based grading system. The diverse methods in which students at High Tech High acquire knowledge and apply skills in the real world are quite similar to the myriad of ways in which any of us acquire knowledge and apply skills in the real world.

Students at High Tech High, for example, collaborate with a group of the school’s biology, math, and humanities professors to produce a series of field guides on San Diego Bay. The students are responsible for conducting research, writing the books, and producing them. To date, five guides have been produced, all of which have received overwhelmingly positive feedback.

A programme of integrated studies that is based on project-based learning absolutely requires some kind of constructive feedback mechanism in order to maintain quality control and assure continued advancement. Rosenstock stresses how important it is for the work of students to be presented to and evaluated by other students, instructors, and parents, in addition to experts working in the appropriate fields. According to him, “you build inside the school a system, a cycle of improvement” when you do it this way.
Although integrated studies have been around in some form or another for almost a century, the method has only gained newfound acceptance in recent years, thanks to effective advocate-practitioners like Rosenstock and the many on-the-ground success stories coming out of schools across the country. Integrated studies have been around in some form or another for nearly a century.

Rosenstock reminds out that our daily lives and the job that we do are not separated into “the math portion, the scientific part, the history part, and the English component.” “Children do not encounter the world in such a manner.” Instead, they live in a manner that can only be described as really multidisciplinary, as do all of us.

Visit our Integrated Studies website for additional information, or read an expanded version of this article that includes commentary from industry professionals like as Sir Ken Robinson and Heidi Hayes Jacobs as well as additional information regarding High School High’s San Diego field guides.