FLoW21 Explained: Target 9

Target 9: Transdisciplinary, interdisciplinary, and multidisciplinary learning.

Although these three terms define different ideas, they all rest on the same premise: Namely that learning is deepened when connections can be made across subjects within a unifying context, challenge, or project.

The image above, sourced from an online discussion of educational experts and researches, might help visually explain the differences between these terms.

Incorporating these ideas into school helps students deepen their understanding of certain topics and, moreover, apply that knowledge in the real world. Beyond school, it is almost unheard of to follow a career within a single domain, and being able to apply knowledge and skills effectively from a variety of subjects is a vital attribute to possess.

As a student progresses through the IB Programmes, they are supported in different ways to develop these skills:

In the PYP, students follow the Units of Inquiry, which were designed specifically to be transdisciplinary, combining skills and knowledge from subjects such as Social Studies, English, Mathematics and Science under a single investigation.

The MYP requires interdisciplinary units, and we will see increased opportunities for students to engage in this style of learning. One example of this style of learning is the tent-building activity which was part of the Middle School's collaborating between the Math and WAB Wild departments.

While the DP was designed to have a more disciplinary approach similar to what you'd find in traditional university studies, there are opportunities for multidisciplinary learning. Our teachers spoke on one example of how DP students combined biology and psychology to study twins.

For teachers, this means creating cross-subject learning opportunities and empowering students to make cross-disciplinary connections both at school and at home.

Parents can help deepen their child's understandings by providing opportunities for students to apply their school learning every day at home. Examples might be measuring ingredients in a recipe, calculating a bill or budget, or constructing a persuasive argument.

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