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Policy, theory and practice in cross-curricularity: What ‘problems’ does a cross-curricular approach aim to solve?

Heywood, David and Solomon, Yvette (2012) Policy, theory and practice in cross-curricularity: What ‘problems’ does a cross-curricular approach aim to solve? ISSN 0883-0355

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Abstract

This special issue aims at a close questioning of the theory and practice of cross-curricularity from a variety of international perspectives. Firstly it addresses the policy context of recent changes in school curricula, particularly perceptions of the curriculum in the development of modern participatory citizenship, and the influence of cross-national comparisons such as TIMSS and PISA and the pressure they exert on government concerns with national economic performance. It also examines the impact of cross-curricularity on classroom learning and practice, and considers the theory and assumptions behind cross-curricular support for knowledge construction. Finally it explores the implications of cross-curricularity for teachers as practitioners and the challenges it presents for teacher educators. In this editorial introduction we consider the assumption that cross-curricular approaches to education deliver on a number of counts: a range of benefits are frequently claimed including greater inclusivity and support for citizenship, enhanced engagement and creativity, and increased relevance and depth of understanding. However, while it has a long history including a revived presence in the curriculum in a number of countries, the exact nature of cross-curricular teaching and learning is under-researched and under-theorised, and as the papers in this volume show, cross-curricularity has many manifestations, while its implementation creates multiple tensions and challenges.

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