In exploring the idea of using music in an everyday classroom, there is one idea that has come up over, and over again: integrated curriculum. Integrated curriculum is many things. In Meeting Standards Through Integrated Curriculum, authors Susan Drake and Rebecca Burns attempt to define and characterize the idea of integrated curriculum. They explain that its all about the fusion of ideas and making connections. The goal of integrated curriculum is to provide relevant and engaging material to students. In their introduction, Drake and Burns highlight several scenarios in schools across the country where integrated curriculum has largely benefitted students. They write that in the listed examples of integrated curriculum,
“…student achievement is a primary focus. Teachers maintain accountability while designing learning experiences that are relevant to student interests. Interestingly, two of the schools serve populations of diverse students. In each case, teachers have developed intriguing curriculum that pushes beyond the boundaries of traditional disciplines to produce positive results. Comprehension, for example, is comprehension, whether taught in a language class or a science class. When students are engaged in learning, whether they are taking part in the arts or role playing in a microsociety, they do well in seemingly unconnected academic arenas. These are only a few of the countless examples of students involved in interdisciplinary studies at all grade levels. The examples highlight the potential of integrated curriculum to act as a bridge to increased student achievement and engaging, relevant curriculum.”
This passage stresses that a foundation of integrated curriculum has to be student engagement. Student engagement seems to be the key to real, meaningful learning.
The authors go on to touch on a plethora of topics concerning integrated education. The whole book is available for purchase, but I, of course, only had access to the first chapter! I found their writing very interesting, and it made me think about the possibilities of things to do in my future classroom. After reading some alternate articles, I really do believe in the value of integrated curriculum. Some naysayers might comment on the fact that it requires a lot of additional work and effort on a teacher’s part. I choose to believe that any extra work put in by teachers is completely worth the benefits students would reap.
As my project continues, I’ll keep looking for more examples and information on the positive effect music can have in a classroom. But, now, I’ll know that looking through the lense of integrated curriculum can also be helpful and significant in understanding the process more fully.