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

Patience: Drive Safe

Be patient before passing is the AA's message for drivers this Labour weekend.

"People taking crazy risks to get past other vehicles is one of the most dangerous things on the road,” says AA spokesperson Dylan Thomsen.

“The weather is looking good for the long weekend so the roads will be busy. Unfortunately, that also increases the chances of people getting frustrated and trying a risky passing manoeuvre. When they get past, there will probably be more traffic up ahead anyway so it won’t get people there faster.” More>>

 
 

Parliament Today:

Employment Relations Bill: Govt Strains To Get Tea Break Law Through

The Government has been left with egg on its face - failing to get its much-vaunted, but hugely unpopular, meal break law passed in the first week of its new term, Labour spokesperson on Labour Issues Andrew Little says. More>>

ALSO:

Guns: Police Association Call To Arm Police Full Time

"The new minister gave his view, that Police do not need to be armed, while standing on the forecourt of parliament. The dark irony was that the interview followed immediately after breaking news of a gunman running amok in the Canadian parliament in Ottawa..." More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Tokenism Of New Zealand's Role Against Islamic State

Our contribution against IS will be to send SAS forces to train the Iraqis? That’s like offering trainers to General Custer just as the 7th cavalry reached the Little Big Horn. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Business: Shell And Todd Caught Drilling Without Approval

Multi-national oil company Shell’s New Zealand arm and local energy giant Todd Energy have breached the new law governing New Zealand’s Exclusive Economic Zone, the Environmental Protection Authority says in an Oct. 10 document released by the Green Party. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Pharmac, Gough Whitlam And Sleater-Kinney

We’re not at the outset of these negotiations. The outset was six years ago, and negotiators were hoping to have some sort of ‘framework’ deal finished in time for the APEC meeting in a few weeks’ time. These ‘extreme’ positions are what we’ve reached near the intended end of the negotiations… More>>

ALSO:

PM Of Many Hats: Questions, No Answers On Whale Oil

Dr RUSSEL NORMAN (Co-Leader – Green) to the Prime Minister: How many times since November 2008 has he spoken with blogger Cameron Slater on the phone and how many times, if any, has he texted him?
Rt Hon JOHN KEY (Prime Minister): None in my capacity as Prime Minister. More>>

ALSO:

Aussie Investigation Dropped: Call On Minister McCully To Pursue The Case Of Balibo Five

West Papua Action is deeply concerned at the lack of any clear outcome from the Australian Federal Police inquiry into the 1975 deaths of the ‘Balibo Five’ including NZ journalist Gary Cunningham. More>>

ALSO:

'Feed The Kids' Bill: Metiria Turei To Lead Fight On Feeding Hungry Children

Green Party Co-leader Metiria Turei is urging all political parties to support the Feed the Kids Bill which she inherited today from Mana leader Hone Harawira. More>>

ALSO:

Parliament Today: State Opening Of Parliament

The House sat at 10.30am on Tuesday before MPs were summoned to hear the Speech from the Throne in the Legislative Council Chamber. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Regional
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news