Local Govt | National News Video | Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Search

 


Creative and Integrated Learning in the Classroom

Creative and Integrated Learning in the Classroom

A group of University of Waikato academics say rather than narrowing the New Zealand curriculum through assessment driven teaching and reporting to standards, schools should be focussing on engaging, challenging and inspiring their students; do that and achievement will follow.

Deborah Fraser, Viv Aitken, and Barbara Whyte from Waikato’s Faculty of Education have just released a new book called Connecting Curriculum, Linking Learning. The trio is advocating integrated learning where the arts, including drama, play a major role in the classroom.

Dr Fraser has been researching curriculum integration since 1998 when she and Barbara Whyte won a contract with the Ministry of Education to research curriculum integration. Dr Fraser went on to win contestable funding from the government research fund, the Teaching and Learning Research Initiative (TLRI) to support two further research projects on the arts and integration. More recently the New Zealand Council for Educational Research (NZCER) agreed to publish a book on the topic.

The academics worked in five primary schools of varying deciles in the Waikato and Bay of Plenty, covering a range of year levels. They observed the students and their teachers, taking note of the language, the interactions and the work produced; they also interviewed staff and students. Seven different in-depth case studies are included in their book.

They include investigating the Kaimanawa wild horses, the Samoan tsunami (which resulted in a community fund raising drive), poetry writing, a study of mauri (life force) and the creation of an interactive museum.

“So for example, with the Kaimanawa horses the students used drama, an approach known as mantle of the expert, and were able to look at the issue from so many different perspectives,” says Dr Fraser.

“From saving the animals, to culling, and conservation of native flora and fauna and animal health – the children took on fictional job roles and had to consider contesting and competing points of view and weigh and balance the evidence. They had to consider DOC’s perspective on the need to keep horse numbers down to protect the unique flora of the region. This challenged them to weigh their emotive response against the bigger picture of preserving an ecosystem. From start to finish their work included literacy and numeracy, ICT and science.”

Dr Fraser says before she and her colleagues researched and wrote the book, there’d been plenty of stories, but very little empirical research on integrated learning. “We were onto this before national standards were even on the agenda. Our research shows that teachers can work creatively – we’re not saying you need to integrate everything – just where it fits. The levels of student engagement in a subject can be outstanding when working this way.”

For teachers it can be demanding and challenging, says Dr Fraser. “The teacher’s role is crucial. It demands that they negotiate with their students so they have a say in what and how they learn, and the teacher needs to be highly skilled in engaging and leading the class. They need to help drive the process, but with a focus on learning, not achievement and benchmarks.”

Dr Fraser says the book is primarily aimed at teachers, principals, and those training to be teachers.

“This type of teaching can work alongside current Ministry demands – but it reminds teachers that they don’t have to sell their souls – it’s a creative, responsive form of teaching that serves the needs of students and is relevant to them. It also offers students multiple opportunities to initiate, collaborate with others, and contribute to their community. Such agency in itself is motivating and makes school a place where knowledge is viewed as provisional and contestable rather than merely ingested.”

Connecting Curriculum, Linking Learning is published by and available from NZCER for $44.95.
http://www.nzcer.org.nz/nzcerpress/connecting-curriculum-linking-learning

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On The Wage Hike For MPs (and Paul Robeson)

Hard to tell what is more infuriating. Is it the 5.3% increase on the already bloated salaries of MPs, or their pantomime of outrage at being gifted with such a wonderful back-dated bonanza?

As usual, Prime Minister John Key has busily tried to distance himself from the political fallout, even though he happens to be the main beneficiary of the Remuneration Authority’s generosity. Finance Minister Bill English says with a straight face that it would actually be very hard to give the money back...

Even if it were true, it would actually be very easy for English and any other guilty colleagues, to give the extra money away. There are any number of food banks or homeless shelters who would be able to put the money to good use. More>>

 

PARLIAMENT TODAY:

No Designers Or Visual Artists: Flag Panel Members Announced

The Government has appointed 12 New Zealanders as members of the Flag Consideration Panel which will engage with the public about a possible new New Zealand flag, Deputy Prime Minister Bill English says. More>>

ALSO:

Labour MP Stands Down From Portfolio: Comment From Carmel Sepuloni

The first I knew of my mother’s charges was when I was called by a reporter yesterday. I spoke to Andrew and we agreed there is a conflict of interest at the present time which means I will temporarily stand aside from the Social Development portfolio. It’s the right thing to do… . More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Whether NZ Troops Are The Least Of Islamic State’s Problems

Given that it has been politically packaged and sold as a training mission, the Iraq deployment announced yesterday by Prime Minister John Key seemed to be mysteriously short of actual trainers... The other wing of the argument is whether a troop deployment is (a) the only effective way and (b) the appropriate time to combat Islamic State. More>>

ALSO:

143 Troops, Possible SAS Deployment, Legalities Unsorted: PM’s Statement On ISIL

Mr Speaker, today I am announcing to the House the Government’s decisions about our contribution to the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL... More>>

ALSO:

Liu Saga: PM's Dinner With Controversial Donor

John Key must front up to New Zealand and say what he discussed with Donghua Liu when the disgraced businessman paid $25,000 for the Prime Minister to come to dinner at his Remuera home, the Green Party said today. More>>

ALSO:

Roads: National MP 'Concerned' At Overseas Driver Crashes

Waitaki MP and Parliamentary Private Secretary for Tourism Jacqui Dean said she was concerned at the number of fatal crashes involving overseas licence holders and she really felt that the time had come for more to be done. More>>

ALSO:

Parliament Today: Parole Bill Passes

A bill reducing parole hearings deemed to be unnecessary has passed. The third reading of the Parole Amendment Bill was completed by 104 to 16 with the Greens and Maori Party opposed. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Regional
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news