Tag: learning for sustainability

Developments with curriculum, interdisciplinary learning and national support during our recovery phase

This blog post flags up a shift in emphasis on interdisciplinary learning this session. It is an extract from a post made by Yvonne McBlain in the Falkirk SSI Team blog – whole post available by clicking here. It may be useful to consider how these developments can run alongside our recovery planning.

A link in the Scotland Learns document alerts us to a 2020-21 re-focus on Interdisciplinary Learning (click to visit this page) which was partially inspired by  “Pillars, Lintels and Foundations; a conference paper”. This paper used a metaphor for IDL, seeing it as the lintel which rested upon the pillars of disciplinary learning and the foundations of  “routine competences, aptitudes, knowledge, skills and methods in and across subjects, including basic literacy and numeracy”  (click here to view the whole paper). The concluding paragraph which provides the rationale for this re-focus is shared below:

The majority of learners would appear to progress through most or all of their education without actively engaging in IDL, yet most jobs, even at graduate level, seldom require a
background or qualification in any particular discipline. The transferable and higher-order skills that learners acquire throughout their education may be of more lasting importance. A systemic response to this challenge is required since the jobs of the 21st century will be increasingly project-driven rather than discipline-driven and will require the collaborative
engagement of generalists and specialists. Understanding a complex and rapidly changing world requires a wide range of knowledge and an interdisciplinary perspective. It is, therefore, a responsibility of educators to try to ensure that learners become adept in both disciplinary and interdisciplinary learning.

We are advised that this session Education Scotland will be developing the following IDL opportunities:

  • Thriving in challenging circumstances with reference to current issues of COVID-19
  • Creative Bravery with an opportunity to join the Creative Bravery Festival which will run from 21-27 September, 2020;
  • Scotland’s Culture with a focus on creativity and the arts;
  • Sustainability with a focus on Learning for sustainability.

Webinars and resources are being planned to support the IDL opportunities above.

If and when appropriate to you and your establishment, Yvonne McBlain, education support officer with Falkirk Children’s Services would be happy to support senior leaders and practitioners interested in engaging with these developments. Contact yvonne.mcblain@falkirk.gov.uk if you are ready to explore how these can inform and support your ongoing curriculum planning and design.

Yvonne and Jane Jackson, outdoor learning support officer, have already looked at interdisciplinary learning within the Learning for Sustainability focus – find out more by viewing our Sway here.


Global Storyline develops at Carron PS

Heather Nicol and her primary 6 class at Carron PS in Falkirk, are working on the Global Storyline project “Our Crop, Our Land” created by WOSDEC. Click here to learn more about this excellent global citizenship resource.

Heather’s pupils created the community of Springfield where most of the villagers rely on farming the crop Berryblush to earn their living. Each pupil has a Springfield persona which they pop in and out of during the storyline to help them understand complex global citizenship and sustainability issues. Click here to see how pupils shared their existing knowledge of farming, and here to see the daily diary of Olivia Spriengeer, one of the Springfield farmers.

Within the drama, it is harvest time and the people of Springfield are preparing to sell this year’s crop of berryblush to the highest bidder at market. (See their marvellous harvesting machines on the right). Outside the drama they have been learning about farming and global commerce and how the cost of real life crops is appropriated to each party who helps to get it to our shops. Click here  and here to see how pupil thinking has been affected by a learning experience called Banana Split, and explore pupil thoughts on why people are hungry by clicking here.

These are some of the learning activities integrated within the storyline to develop real and deep understanding of global commerce, rights, fair trade and social responsiblity and help pupils to become responsible citizens and effective contributors.

Heather’s class are really enjoying this connected learning experience which links experiences & outcomes in social studies, expressive arts and health and well-being. The storyline approach develops empathy and genuine understanding of global issues, as well as making the learning coherent and relevant to the pupils. Heather has applied her global storyline training and context building so well, that pupils asked to take some of their learning experiences home to work on them with their parents. They feel outraged that most farmers get so little payment compared to the other parties involved in getting food to us, and want to make sure others get to know about this too. Heather and her pupils will soon discover just how volatile this market can be, and how that volatility impacts on food producers around the world.

This is an excellent example of type 2 interdisciplinary learning where pupil skills and understanding are broadened and challenged through the cross-cutting themes of global citizenship and sustainability. The storyline approach and integration of drama and art and design ensure that pupils are consistently engaging in higher order thinking and reflection, which results in real progression.