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4.5 INTEGRATED CURRICULUM

Definitions: Curriculum integration is a philosophy of teaching in which content is drawn from several subject areas to focus on a particular topic or theme. Generally, educators think of curriculum integration as “making meaningful connections between topics or skills that are usually addressed in different subject areas” (Drake, 2000, p. 3).

Integrated curriculum is the presentation of concepts of two or more subjects in the lesson of a text book in such a manner as to avoid repetition, duplication and undue emphasis on different topics of school subjects and through this approach to reduce conceptual volume of subjects. (Ministry of Education, 1995)

Other practitioners and theorists offer various definitions for the term integrated curriculum. According to Brazee and Capelluti (1995) “Integrated curriculum is based on a holistic view of learning and recognizes the necessity for leamers to see the big picture. Integrative curriculum ignores traditional subject lines while exploring questions that are most relevant to students. As a result, it is both responsive to students’ needs and intellectual, because it focuses on helping learners use their minds as well”

According to Roberts and Kellough, (2000), “The term integrated curriculum refers to a way of teaching, planning and organizing so the discrete disciplines of subject matter are interrelated and match the developmental needs of the learners, help to meaningfully connect the students’ learning to their current and past experiences”.

The purpose of integration is to increase student understanding across the disciplines-teaching subject areas according to their natural connections rather than in isolation from one another. Rather than studying math or social studies in isolation, for example, a class might study a unit called “The Sea”, using math to calculate pressure at certain depths and social studies to understand why coastal and inland populations have different livelihoods.

The benefits to students of curriculum integration include longer retention of content and skills, increased interest and motivation, and application of higher order thinking skills when connecting learning in more than one discipline.

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