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Pre-service teachers’ shifting perceptions of cross-curricular practice: The impact of school experience in mediating professional insight

Heywood, David and Parker, Joan and Jolley, Nina (2012) Pre-service teachers’ shifting perceptions of cross-curricular practice: The impact of school experience in mediating professional insight. ISSN 08830355

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Abstract

Contemporary educational debate in curriculum organisation and pedagogy has focused on the merits or otherwise of integrating disciplines for more effective learning. A wide range of terms is used to describe the various traditions associated with the presentation and structure of the curriculum and there are various perspectives on the purposes and efficacy of such approaches. Terms such as cross-curricular, thematic and interdisciplinary learning encompass a broad range of interpretations that place different emphases on the process of interdisciplinary organisation. It is often suggested that integration in its various forms promotes understanding through building connections in meaningful learning contexts. However, the delivery of a more integrated curriculum depends on teachers’ abilities to integrate knowledge appropriately such that pupils are able to make productive links between subjects. This presents a particular challenge in initial teacher education; this paper explores how student teachers’ conceptualisation of these practices is mediated and influenced in relation to their experience in school.

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