Week 31 – Interdisciplinary Communities

Week 31 – Interdisciplinary Connections


Creating the above Coggle to demonstrate the interdisciplinary connections I have as a junior teacher illustrated, to me, two things; the first being that as teachers it is impossible to exist and be effective independently. Secondly, there is a parallel that I can draw between them and my community of practice.

One of the wonderful things about being a teacher is that we have this wide range of support from the community. There is a more recent movement in education to move into connected approach to learning, a multidisciplinary approach. Using an approach such as this can give our students a real world context in which to take risks with their learning and apply skills and knowledge they have learnt. From Hadre et al’s (2013) study they found that interdisciplinary learning can increase innovative thinking, critical practice and metacognitive awareness, all crucial skills we are attempting to impart on our students.

An area that I identify from my diagram would be to create a collaborative environment with my new colleague as I am changing year levels and so working with a new colleague.

In the figure below from Mullian and Kuban (2015) outlines three major areas that are key to a successful interdisciplinary relationship; workplace conditions, qualities/ attitudes and common goals.


Using this model from Mulligan and Kuban’s (2015) blog post on ACRLog it makes clear to lay out the parameters in which to establish a strong working interdisciplinary and collaborative relationship.

My colleague has already mentioned she wants to be more collaborative with planning so having the open and communicative attitude will be a great asset to establishing this professional relationship. We already have a common goal – educating Year 3 students. Refining this goal and drawing from our wide community will ensure the success of supporting our Year 3 students but also our working relationship.

A major challenge to this will be that our classes are separate; in fact so separate they are on different floors! This is a factor is establishing and maintaining a working collaborative relationship as suggested by Mulligan and Kuban (2015) in a blog post on successful interdisciplinary interactions.

I look forward to the challenge of establishing a new professional relationship incorporating the aspects of an interdisciplinary approach, expanding the learning field for the young minds that I work with daily.

ACRLog. (2015). A Conceptual Model for Interdisciplinary Collaboration. Retrieved from http://acrlog.org/2015/05/14/a-conceptual-model-for-interdisciplinary-collaboration.

Hardré, P. L., Ling, C., Shehab, R. L., Nanny, M. A., Nollert, M. U., Refai, H., … & Wollega, E. D. (2013). Teachers in an Interdisciplinary Learning Community Engaging, Integrating, and Strengthening K-12 Education. Journal of Teacher Education, 64(5), 409-425.


2 thoughts on “Week 31 – Interdisciplinary Communities

  1. Fiona Jackson says:

    I enjoyed reading your post. I can particulary relate to the part you mention about collaboration planning and communicative attitude. In the past I have found this to be difficult when working part time or in a class with no syndicate or team. I have made sure I now keep an open line of communication across all levels of my school. I have found that even with working alongside teachers who teach a whole different level, they still have a lot of important skills and ideas that they are able to share. They also enjoy seeing ideas that are working well for you in your classroom as often these can be adapted to suit other classes.
    Observing and planning alongside other colleagues is also a breath of fresh air- and can often take the pressure off and gives you motivation and inspiration when you need it.


  2. Mel says:

    Wow, what a challenge you have ahead of you with collaboration on different floors. I started working collaboratively with the teacher next door, the cloakbay becoming a thoroughfare until we had the wall between us knocked out. This obviously isn’t an option for you! We do all our planning together – often online in the evenings as it suits our family timetables – and we have some times when we need to be together as a whole group. However a majority of what we do is still 1 teacher with a group of students. The collegial collaboration comes before and after the teaching, and the collaboration during teaching is the students working together. I can vouch for the motivation of working with another. When I’m having a rough day, she can help pick up the slack – and visa versa. We can play to our strengths so are probably more confident that the students are really getting a good deal. As we talk through all of our planning and assessment, it is definitely a more rigorous system. It’s exciting!


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