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Integrated Teaching Strategies

Integrative learning is a learning theory describing a movement toward integrated

lessons helping students make connections across curricula. This higher education concept is
distinct from the elementary and high school "integrated curriculum" movement. Integrated
learning incorporates multiple subjects, which are usually taught separately, in an
interdisciplinary method of teaching. The goal is to help students remain engaged and draw
from multiple sets of skills, experiences and sources to aid and accelerate the learning

Integrated studies involve bringing together traditionally separate subjects so that

students can grasp a more authentic understanding. Veronica Boix Mansilla, cofounder of
the Interdisciplinary Studies Project at Project Zero, explains "when [students] can bring
together concepts, methods, or languages from two or more disciplines or established areas
of expertise in order to explain a phenomenon, solve a problem, create a product, or raise a
new question" they are demonstrating interdisciplinary understanding. For over a decade,
Project Zero researchers at the Harvard Graduate School of Education have been studying
interdisciplinary work across a range of settings. They have found interdisciplinary
understanding to be crucial for modern-thinking students.

There are three modes of integrative teaching strategies, thematic teaching,

content-based instruction and focusing inquiry. Thematic learning is based on the idea that
knowledge acquisition is efficient among students when they learn in the context of a
coherent and holistic way and when they can associate whatever they learn to their
surrounding and real life examples. Thematic instruction seeks to put the cognitive skills
such as reading, thinking, memorizing, and writing in the context of a real-life situation
under the broad aim to allow creative exploration.

Moreover, Content-based instruction (CBI) is a significant approach in language

education (Brinton, Snow, & Wesche, 1989). CBI is designed to provide second-language
learners instruction in content and language. Historically, the word content has changed its
meaning in second language teaching. Content used to refer to the methods of grammar
translation, audio-lingual methodology and vocabulary or sound patterns in dialog form.
Recently, content is interpreted as the use of subject matter as a vehicle for second or
foreign language teaching/learning.

In the focusing inquiry, teachers identify the outcomes they want their students to
achieve. They consider how their students are doing in relation to those outcomes, and they
ask what their students need to learn next in order to achieve them.

In the teaching inquiry, teachers select teaching strategies that will support their
students to achieve these outcomes. This involves asking questions about how well current
strategies are working and whether others might be more successful. Teachers search their
own and their colleagues past practice for strategies that may be more effective, and they
also look in the research literature to see what has worked in other contexts. They seek
evidence that their selected strategies really have worked for other students, and they set
up processes for capturing evidence about whether the strategies are working for their own