The Interdisciplinary Teacher Seminar

This multi-year study employed an action research approach to develop a pedagogical framework for interdisciplinary education at the pre-collegiate level. Through close collaboration with a select group of high school teachers, the study supported, documented, and analyzed the development and impact of carefully crafted experimental interdisciplinary teaching designs.

We developed an empirically grounded pedagogical framework to teach for interdisciplinary understanding, and a collection of exemplary interdisciplinary units geared to teaching high school students about globalization through interdisciplinary means.

Our analyses of a comprehensive data corpus including longitudinal teacher interviews, teacher seminar documentation, evolving unit designs, classroom observations, teacher interviews and narratives, student interviews and work, shed empirical light on: 1) how teachers develop their ability to use interdisciplinary approaches (e.g., support structures needed, role of effective collaborations, the challenges involved in learning a new domain); and 2) how students move from less to more sophisticated interdisciplinary understandings (e.g., learning challenges, effective strategies, developmental progressions).

The framework and assessment tools derived from this project directly informed a study of exemplary interdisciplinary teaching practices in the International Baccalaureate Middle Years program as well as a study of Interdisciplinary Assessment. 

This multi-year study was generously funded by the Atlantic Philanthropies.