Integrated Thinking and Learning:
Increasingly educators have been discussing the advantages of integration as an instructional strategy. Documentation of meaningful and successful integrated thinking and learning seems haphazard, despite the mounting body of research emphasizing its critical role in educating students for the 21st century. When several Leadership Academy participants identified action plan goals that focused on integration, the AEC decided to begin investigating the range and variety of integration models. The initial phases of research resulted in the following articulation of the problem and hypothesis.
- Problem: Integration may not be done systematically or effectively in schools.
- Hypothesis: Integrated learning is key to an educational reform model that is focused on student achievement and is contingent on specific conditions including: a common definition of integrated learning and a common language to describe a model of integrated learning.
A comprehensive literature review, investigation of schools and educational philosophies that focus on integration, and interviewing teachers who are involved in integration, resulted in the following Core Modalities of Integrated Thinking and Learning. The modalities are a codification of current thinking on integration, and may be a standard by which we can determine if quality integrated thinking and learning is occurring. These modalities have a dual nature in their implications as they represent:
- A process that artists use that may also have implications for all disciplines
- Elements that are essential to deep learning and what teachers do when planning, facilitating, and evaluating learning.
We are in the process of exploring applications the Core Modalities of Integrated Thinking and Learning. We are encouraged by initial responses to the vetting of these ideas are excited about the possibilities they present for thinking, teaching, and learning.
Core Modalities of Integrated Thinking and Learning:
- Creation: bringing to reality an active response to an internal or external need
- Engagement: fully conscious immersion into an experience
- Pluralism: thinking flexibly considering multiple perspectives
- Transference: making connections, seeing relationships across boundaries
- Communication: using all senses to acquire data and being aware of your audience
- Retention: comprehensive access to one’s own learning
For those interested in reading materials that have informed our work around integration, please check out our reading list.
We will continue to post updates regarding our progress. For more information regarding this project, please contact Kathleen Dean at firstname.lastname@example.org or (412) 201-7431.