Teaching Across the Subject Boundaries – TDT
When asked to reflect upon an IDL topic which I had done in either primary or secondary school I realised that everything that I remembered had some sort of emotional connection to it. One emotional and memorable IDL topic was World War Two.
Thinking back, I and my other classmates were so engrossed in the topic that we did not realise that there were connections to other subjects being made in order to enhance our learning. That, I believe, is something to take forward into my own teaching. Being able to grasp a whole class, which was from primary 4 to 7, to emotionally connect to a topic is very influential. Thinking back, I think this was achieved by telling us stories and teaching us through films and documentaries set around World War Two, for example, War Horse by Michael Morpurgo (which is still a favourite book of mine, just showing the impact is had one me), Goodnight Mr Tom (I was so emotionally connected to this film that I was eager to read the book shortly afterwards) and a documentary, that was luckily on BBC2 at the time, about a modern day family going back in time to World War Two and how their lives differed. But, as some teachers may just let us watch and listen to the stories, films and documentaries, we were encouraged to have a discussion about what we have just learned which allowed us to share our understanding, especially as this was a class of mixed age and ability. By having this discussion, we were so emotionally connected that our class teacher asked us to write a short diary entry about a day in the life of someone during WW2, these ranged from soldiers out on the front line, to wives and families back home. By doing this it made me truly realise how everyone was affected by the war, and thus a link to literacy that we were unaware of.
By using visuals, we were able to connect and understand our learning a lot better, and it also made it more relevant. To this day, in my own teaching, I prefer using a book to grasp the children from the start of any new topic.
When we were also asked to reflect, however, we were asked if maths was involved in our IDL learning, and from what I can remember, maths was never included in IDL. Perhaps this was because I went through the prescriptive 5-14 curriculum. Nevertheless, I truly believe if maths was included within a context, such as IDL, then my own maths anxiety would be non-existent. Maths could have been included, for example within the WW2 topic, by having to weigh and measure the right rations for the class, which would not only help us with our measuring and weight skills, it would also help us realise the shocking lack of food families during WW2 were receiving, creating more of an emotional connection that I believe can be important in IDL learning, as mentioned above.
Creating these connections within a topic without the children truly realising that they are using literacy or numeracy, for example, I believe means children are using the skills they would be using outside of school. Today, we all use skills we learned in primary school, perhaps through IDL, in our own lives without truly realising it. Some of these skills can be taught through IDL to prepare children for their future.