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The association dedicated exclusively to the education, development and growth of young adolescents

H.A.M.S.T.E.R - it's all integrated instruction

19 Aug 2018 11:33 AM | Angela White (Administrator)

I was struck by this image which came across my Facebook feed as it made me think about integration and how far we've progressed (or not) in the area of subject integration.  For many years Adolescent Success has advocated for subject integration in the middle years.  Why?  ... because it's better for young adolescents.  Learning which is integrated is authentic and it means students can engage in deep learning experiences which encourage problem based learning, inquiry learning, rich learning tasks and collaborative and personal projects.  

I think there is a way to authentically integrate subjects while still respecting the status of the single subject.  With the rise of STEM and STEAM and now STREAM projects there is an opportunity for us to re-invent the integration model for learners in the middle years.   I'm in awe of the presenter in this picture who has invented HAMSTER (Humanities, Art, Math, Science, Technology, Engineering, Reading/Research) because, why should we limit integration to just Science, Technology and Maths?  

If you're considering integration, these points from Tony Dowden page 186 "Teaching Middle Years" are a useful guide:

"* Establish a clear and unambiguous rationale for implementing curriculum integration.

* Design student-centred curriculum integration that helps students achieve personal development goals and build social connections (especially in Years 5-7).

* Ensure that all teachers understand developmental needs in the middle years when implementing student-centred curriculum integration.

* Implement subject-centred multidisciplinary units in instances in which two or more disciplinary perspectives are desirable and this leads to deep learning, but avoid subject-centred multidisciplinary units unless the inclusion of each subject can be justified on a case by case basis."

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