Academic journal article Educational Research Quarterly

Modeling Curriculum Intergrations with Secondary Preservice Teachers: A Case Study

Academic journal article Educational Research Quarterly

Modeling Curriculum Intergrations with Secondary Preservice Teachers: A Case Study

Article excerpt

In order to prepare preservice teacher education students to work with curriculum integration, the authors (one from English Education and one from Social Science Education) team taught a portion of their respective methods courses involving the students in the preparation of interdisciplinary units on a young adult novel This modeling of the process of integration followed a pattern of community building that was also reflected in the student work. Through observation and student journal entries, the authors show that a valuable teaching technique was developed. Both students and professors were changed by the experience. Preface

To begin at the beginning. Community and collaborations are often accidental. People discover common interests, share common work space, and laugh about the same things. Our story is no different. We were new faculty in the secondary education program of a small rural state college, who had both worked with the same mentor (but at different universities at different times). We both had recently completed doctorates and moved to a new locale. As we attended meetings and other college events, we discovered more things in common: a shared Southern heritage; being newcomers in both the college and community; and similar professional interests such as middle schools, team teaching, cooperative learning, and curriculum integration. We also spent a great deal of time laughing.

After the first year, our offices were moved so that we were only two doors apart. Proximity and common interests led to discussions, which led to longer discussions, which led to work on college projects, which led to professional presentations, which led to guest appearances in each other's classes, which led to a combined multi-week unit within our methods classes, which led to the team teaching of an entire course, which led to collaborating on professional articles such as this one.


This paper addresses the ongoing debate over single discipline versus interdisciplinary instruction at the collegiate level. Drawing on the work of Drake (1993), Jacobs (1989), and others, a case will be made that since curriculum integration is a topic of much interest and concern in the secondary schools, we must prepare the next generation of educators to address the developing standards of the profession with their peers in an integrated fashion.

During their preservice coursework, students need to observe, experience, and reflect on learning activities from both student and teacher`perspectives. Generally, there are more opportunities for direct experience as students than as teachers. In addition, there are limited opportunities for preservice teachers to see modelling of curriculum integration. It is particularly important to consider the powerful positive effects of teacher modelling on changes in student behaviors (Brophy & Good, 1991).

Curriculum integration depends on the ability of the members of a group to be able to relinquish total control over their individual course curricula and, through negotiation, develop a new set of curriculum standards that go beyond the standard walls of the disciplines. This collegial undertaking demands a sense of trust and community between the members of the group. Based on a case study of a collegiate methods course, a description of the curriculum integration process as community building is presented.


The concept of community is one that gets bandied about with abandon. We speak of the community of sociologists, the community of scholars, the community of learners, our community, community life, community spirit, and so on. We always seem to know what we mean, the context developing a frame in which our intent is made clear, at least to us. We use the phrase "sense of community" and further augment it with the idea that whatever that sense of community may be, it is possible to foster and/or promote it.

Before we can address the validity of that premise, we need to agree upon what we mean by community. …

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