Interdisciplinary instruction develops strong systems of engaging and efficient whole student experiences. When we think of each content area or academic field as a cog in the instructional system educators can feel overwhelmed by the complexities and expectations of teaching. By taking an interdisciplinary approach to teaching and learning, schools can - and should - integrate multiple academic fields. Interdisciplinary instruction relies on multiple content cogs working together to develop student knowledge, problem-solving skills, self-confidence, self-efficacy and a passion for learning while supporting students' various learning styles, diverse backgrounds, interests, talents, backgrounds, and values.
By focusing on providing interdisciplinary and project-based learning opportunities, student engagement in learning increases, whereby a culture of student-directed learning becomes the norm, not the exception. Shifting instruction and assessment from siloed content area learning to interdisciplinary will provide educators and students unique opportunities to explore learning that is both relevant and interesting to them - cultivating an environment that excites learners and sparks continuous curiosity.
There are examples of instruction that do not support the interdisciplinary approach. These are the approaches and how we define them:
There are many different ways to offer students a learning experience that includes knowledge and skills from several disciplines. While none of these approaches are novel, Maine DOE’s support of interdisciplinary learning better prepares our students to find an engaging and rewarding pathway. These are the approaches and how we define each: