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Interdisciplinary Learning “Key to Solving Global Problems”

King Edward VI High School for Girls chemistry teacher Dr Simpson has had an article on interdisciplinary learning (IDL) published in the Royal Society of Chemistry’s Education in Chemistry journal.

His article sets out why he thinks collaborating with teachers of other subjects gives students a better learning experience, with interdisciplinary approaches – integrating different disciplines to create an entirely new subject area – being particularly powerful.

He says interdisciplinary subjects are key to solving global problems, defining the job market and driving industry and innovation.

Mr Simpson writes: “The importance of teaching fundamental disciplinary knowledge will never diminish. However, we still need to think more about preparing students for the real world and help them to see the relevance of chemistry’s role in it. Incorporating IDL into our teaching practices would be a great way to address this. It helps to give learning a context, which creates interest and engagement and therefore promotes inclusion.”

The article recounts Dr Simpson’s first experience of IDL at King Edward VI High School for Girls, where a simple request to see a biology scheme of work led to collaborative biochemistry lessons, and also an example of an environmental sustainability homework task which integrated chemistry and geography.

“Exploring IDL and trying it out in some of my lessons has always been about improving learning for my students, but I think teachers have just as much to gain,” writes Dr Simpson. “Collaborative planning has been an enlightening experience as well as a joy to undertake, and team-teaching has been an amazing catalyst for self-reflection and personal improvement.”

To formalise his research and study interests, Dr Simpson is currently undertaking the National Professional Qualification for Senior Leadership (NPQSL) through the King Edward VI Foundation, for which his research into IDL is a part.  

You can read Dr Simpson’s article online at https://edu.rsc.org/opinion/why-interdisciplinary-learning-makes-sense-for-science-teaching/4015409.article