As young people move through education in England, their exposure to interdisciplinary experiences is increasingly reduced. In Primary schools, pupils – especially those with very imaginative and creative teachers – are taught in a way that continues to emphasise the links between different subjects. This is placed in stark contrast to secondary schools that presents students with the image of a world that is broken down into individual components, and offers little opportunity to explore how it is all connected. As a result, young people are emerging into the world of work without the key skills required of them by employers, such as creativity, problem solving, and critical thinking.
Yet, whilst it is relatively easy to acknowledge that the system requires changing, carrying out these changes is a much bigger challenge. One of the main barriers facing teachers, especially those at secondary level, is the notion that they will have to step out of their own comfort zones, be this geography, maths, physics, languages etc, and engage with subjects that they may not have studied for many years. Lack of time is also seen as a reason why many teachers are unable to put into place projects and topics of a more interdisciplinary nature.
One possible solution to the above issues is to consult the many NGOs and freelance educators who have produced free materials to help support teachers. You can find many of these in the resource section of the SEEd website. The charity Practical Action have created a great range of freely downloadable resources that bring together a range of different subjects through the lens of issues such as poverty and inequality.
Please do get in touch with us if you are looking for more opportunities to expand your interdisciplinary work, and – as always – do let us know about the projects which you are involved in.
The SEEd Team