Monday, 11 July 2016

Activity 7:My interdisciplinary connection map

In an ideal world the interdisciplinary approach as described in the video that appeared on the Mind Lab site for this week's tasks would be perfect for all students.

Having taught the unit on The Holocaust this year with my Year 10 Social Studies class I can see how the study could have been so much more meaningful if taken across the curriculum.  This is so hard in the Secondary school setting as it requires having likeminded people to collaborate with.  How could I do this differently next year?  Will I have a Year 10 Social Studies class next year? 

In my own practice I have tried over the years to collaborate in my area with the Food department but it's often been met with some negativity.  I have found one teacher in that department who is much more willing to cooperate and whilst the benefits were not for my own classes, this one teacher has taken my visitors from overseas and given them a food lesson usually creating pikelets - typical NZ fare!!!  My students go and help out.  Just don't tell anyone about the Health and Safety issues this might create!

Earlier this year I was suddenly gifted a group of students from Tahiti at very short notice.  The group had been let down by another school in the area.   It was basically a day or so to put together a program for them.  Thankfully our new Dance teacher is very accommodating and the morning they spent with us was just wonderful.  The students from Tahiti did their very rehearsed and practiced performance for us and our Dance students did an impromptu for them in return.  There was then some sort of dance off which was just amazing.  We were lucky enough to be able to take over the Hall and my classes just joined us when they were timetabled in my teaching room.  My students interacted with them and took them on a tour of the school to show off our facilities and get to know the students.  At lunchtime the group were taken to a rehearsal by our Pasifica students.  It was a lovely sharing time.  I felt it was the most collaborative opportunity I've had at the school in a long time and what made it really work was the fact that the teacher of Dance was so willing to share and to think outside the square.  I have another group of students arriving in September and hope we can do a similar project with a little more thought and prior collaboration so that we can include our own classes across the board and create a meaningful and worthwhile time for all. 

Having visitors from overseas is very common and I'm always with my hand up saying yes we'll take you.  The time spent in school is sometimes not very well thought out unfortunately and is due often to my own timetable constraints and also rooming.  If you already have a group of 25 students, having another 20 is pushing things.  Planning is key I believe. - this would be perfect in the ideal world - one where we have the connectivity and devices necessary!

I feel I'm not making a great job of this post.  I'm thinking about my own connections and knuckling down to my own practice but should this be a bit more wide?  Is 'interdisciplinary' merely about collaborating across the curriculum or is it something else?  It should be student centered is what I am gleaning from the videos and reading.

So for the future how does my practice need to become more student centered and student focused?  It would be lovely to have a separate program for each and every student.  Is this achievable?  I still would like to trial out a suggestion from another teacher a while ago in terms of Station Rotation work in the classroom. 

These July holidays I am going to finish my Mind Lab course and get busy looking at devising some new teaching materials for my students in Terms 3 and 4.  This will go nicely hand in hand with the recent training sessions for Kia Eke Panuku.  Very much student focused using Culturally Responsive and Relational Pedagogy.  We are one of 91 schools involved in this project.  Exciting times for our school, raising achievement for not just our Maori tamariki but for all. 

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