A collaborative and interdisciplinary learning experience between English and Arts
Learning cannot happen in isolation. For this reason, whenever possible, it is important to helps students make connections across subject groups. The inquiry-based nature of the MYP allows for interdisciplinary learning experiences to be developed every time that teachers of two or more subjects identify opportunities to join forces and create a learning experience in which students employ knowledge, skills and understandings from all involved subjects in order to achieve a bigger goal.
In order to help students understand that utilizing different forms of language and art creatively enables communicators and artists to reach different audiences and to enhance the message they convey, Mr. Chris Borodenko (QAIS Arts Teacher) and I decided to develop a unit in which students built meaning from the understandings developed in the Arts and the English class. Added to this, another goal of this collaboration was for students to become aware of how concepts transfer from one subject to another.
In order to make an interdisciplinary unit work effectively, and for students to understand that they are working on one common understanding in all involved subjects, it is important that teachers take part in each others’ classes, to become aware of how learning is transforming students. In this experience the level of creativity explored was further enhanced by Mr. Borodenko’s participation in the English class, and my involvement in the Arts class.
An IDU offers students the opportunity to explore their creativity, and demonstrate how much they are able to do with what they know. Through the learning process, one can witness how ideas become more and more sophisticated and how students integrate knowledge from the subjects involved in the IDU. Therefore, discussions are richer, and responses to every text that is always accompanied with strong convictions.
Finally, while there are specific assessment criteria for an IDU, the formative nature of this type of learning experiences is what makes the learning unusual, and students’ responses unexpected. IDUs in the MYP are essential in an IB Continuum school such as QAIS, because they show students that the learning style they explored in PYP still matters, and that this is the bridge between the two programs.