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Pres Should Have More Interdisciplinary Classes

Tisha Lwin, A&E Editor

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Interdisciplinary courses allow students to form an understanding of multiple subjects by integrating them together.

According to The Open University, interdisciplinary study improves a student’s motivation, critical thinking skills and understanding of the topic.

Presentation High School currently has only three interdisciplinary classes: Death in Literature, God in Literature and Modern Novel, limiting students to courses that combine English and religion. These classes are some of the most sought after at Pres, which suggests that the school should offer a wider variety of interdisciplinary courses.

Essentialschools.org states that interdisciplinary courses transform student work and thinking to reflect an understanding of relationships and ideas across disciplines. Students benefit substantially from these life skills.

Another benefit is that combining classes frees up room in students’ schedules. The overworked, stressed out Pres student population would certainly value additional free time.

Additionally, a slate of cool, blended classes would give prospective students another reason to favor Pres (we can only rely on the Pasta Market bread so much, after all).

Our teachers might argue that whenever an interdisciplinary class is added to a department, one of them must commit to teaching it regularly, which adds to their workload. It is substantially more difficult to teach three different classes rather than just two, which is what many teachers currently have. The more variety there is in each department, the more likely that teachers will end up teaching more preps, which is harder on them.

To combat this potential issue, Pres could have a policy where at least two teachers per department commit to teaching an interdisciplinary. Therefore, the teachers can rotate teaching the class and no one teacher will always be burdened with three different preps.

Departments can also rotate the class itself, similar to how social studies rotates Modern History and Global Women’s Issues. This would allow students to have access to the classes either their junior or senior year while still keeping the burden on teachers relatively low.

One area that’s clearly in need of interdisciplinaries is the art department, which recently increased the graduation requirement from three semesters to four.  For example, Pres should consider Civil Rights History and Photography, where students would study the Civil Rights Era while using mixed-media photography projects to gain an understanding of life during the period.

Film in Literature is another potential interdisciplinary class that combines English and Art. Pres could also consider resurrecting its old Bioethics course and revamping it as an interdisciplinary science/religion course. And many contemporary issues such as immigration, race, and gender equality could easily be turned into combination social studies/English courses.

Finally,  many students wonder why our existing Narnia course isn’t an interdisciplinary English/religion when it so easily could be.

Ultimately, there are endless possibilities for interdisciplinary classes that would both benefit students and allow teachers to create inspiring, educational courses that they are passionate about. Pres needs to start planning now to add more of these valuable classes to the curriculum.

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