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In the future, perhaps no single task will be more important than that of the challenge of improving our approaches as educators to facilitate student learning. Focusing on one element of this task, we are becoming increasingly aware of the role of an interdisciplinary thematic unit for quality learning. In keeping with this awareness, the purpose of this guide is to provide a practical approach for (1) university and college students who are preparing to become competent school teachers and (2) credentialed teachers who are interested in developing interdisciplinary thematic units. The focus is on one concise approach; therefore, this guide should serve as a supplement to what you learn (or have learned) in a general methods course.
In addition, this guide is suitable for administrators as well as those who work with students in school libraries, youth groups, or home schooling situations. For any interested educator, the content and interactive exercises are intended to provide guidance for developing interdisciplinary thematic units.
We believe the interdisciplinary thematic unit (ITU) is an instructional strategy that will help define a new expression of our professionalism. Certainly, developing and presenting an ITU in the classroom can be challenging to the teacher--this approach often tests one's dedication and ingenuity. The ITU as an expression of our professionalism reflects the view that such a unit can provide the most meaningful way to prepare students for the everyday requirements of the 21st century. This includes living life on a worldwide information superhighway and moving in a fast cyber-lane.
In these initial years ofthe 21st century, we believe that
We are confident that the interdisciplinary thematic approach can be useful in classrooms, although only if questioning is given the same priority that Albert Einstein gave it when he reflected in writing on has own learning (see Chapter 4).
If we are to improve our educational approaches significantly in the years ahead, then all of us must join in making that effort. Strong action will be necessary at all educational levels. Presenting interdisciplinary thematic units in the classroom can be part of that action. Further, private citizens and volunteer groups must join in partnerships to support the effort, including businesses and industries; labor and farm organizations; and scientific, health, and educational institutions. Quantitatively, every part of our society has a responsibility. Qualitatively, it is important that the improvement of our educational approaches be seen as a national and international concern.
This step-by-step guide, with many examples, strives to be user-friendly and educationally helpful. It is one of the few books available to successfully integrate interdisciplinary content, technology, diversity, and classroom management. It is intended for a teacher interested in offering, assessing, and evaluating an integrated curriculum through the inclusion of interdisciplinary thematic units of instruction. Its focus is designed for pre-credentialed teacher preparation at the college and university level, for inservice seminars and workshops at the district level, and for independent use by credentialed teachers. In the organization of the guide's five chapters, you will find helpful guidelines for initiating an ITU, interactive exercises for developing objectives and learning activities, highly informative materials on assessment, and sample units and planning masters useful for making transparencies for the overhead projector to aid in discussions, introduction of material, and reviews.
As a pre- or post-credentialed teacher, the following features will be of interest to you. This guide
Each chapter also has
Chapter 1 gives you an explanation of the integrated curriculum and its potential advantages and limitations. It explains the concept of the interdisciplinary thematic unit and the foundation theories that support its development and implementation. Yott will get an overview of the development of themes, recommendations related to curriculum standards, and the scope and sequence of an ITU in Chapter 2. In Chapter 3 you are provided with guidelines and interactive exercises to help you in developing objectives. The assessment component of student learning is addressed in Chapter 4. After instruction in Chapter 5 on the development of your lessons and types of learning activities for the ITU, you are asked to complete the development of your own ITU. In addition, Chapter 5 has three complete (or nearly complete--due to limited space in this book) sample ITUs for your review.
Chapters 1 through 5 were rewritten for this edition. The main reason for the changes was the request by nearly every reviewer for more content about curriculum standards, scoring guides, and the ITU approach and its relationship to professional educational tests--in a text that could not increase in the number of pages.
This third edition differs from the previous one in the following ways:
In summary, A Guide for Developing Interdisciplinary Thematic Units, Third Edition, is intended as a beginning point for caring educators who find themselves challenged by students who face a world with many complex concerns. These students are in need of problem-solving skills that may best be developed through the most meaningful kinds of learning--such as can be offered through the use of ITUs in an integrated curriculum. Although even the most dedicated and responsible educators cannot determine the future of the students in their charge, they can become positive role models as professionals who offer and support interdisciplinary teaching and learning. Furthermore, teachers can enhance their curricula by accepting the students' input and placing carefully planned activities into units that will guide the students toward developing the problem-solving skills and knowledge needed not only in today's changing times but also in the years ahead.
The following related ancillaries are available to the instructors who adopt this text. To request information about any of the following, contact your Prentice Hall representative or visit the Merrill/Prentice Hall website at prenhall.com. If you are unable to contact your local representative, please call faculty services at 1-800-526-0485 for information.
When we checked the web addresses mentioned in this text, they were correct. However, in recent months, some websites may have found their top level domains suddenly connected to advertisements for unsavory sites that are unrelated to education, if any owners failed to renew claims to the names. We have found this particularly disconcerting in the past and in this text have included mainly the sites of professional organizations in the hope that the addresses will remain educational ones and furnish you with information related to your teaching.