Transdisciplinary learning in practice: grade 1
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Transdisciplinary learning in practice: grade 1

At ISUtrecht we follow the International Baccalaureate (IB), and transdisciplinary learning is the main characteristic of this integral curriculum. The main idea of transdisciplinary learning is that we do not contemplate the traditional curricular subjects isolated, but that we rather connect them all under one theme. 

By Maria Ballester, classroom teacher grade 1 Red

Currently, the grade 1 students are inquiring into one of the six transdisciplinary themes from the IB Primary Years Programme (IB PYP) called “Where we are in place and time”. During their learning process, the students are not only learning new geology concepts, but they are gaining essential skills that will help them become life-long learners. For this theme, in particular, we focused on developing thinking and researching skills, however, there is a long list of other Approaches to Learning (ATL) that empowers the students’ self-agency in different areas of their development.

analysing ideas from different perspectives and across subject areas

In grade 1, the theme “Where we are in place and time” is being covered by the unit of inquiry called “Geology”. The students have been working in small groups of “geologists” since the beginning of the unit. In this way, they are working collaboratively with their peers analysing ideas from different perspectives and across subject areas (such as Mathematics, Language, Visual Arts, or Computational Thinking).

Some students feel very confident finding effective and fast strategies to count the gemstones or to sort out different rocks under specific criteria (such as size, color, or texture).

Embrace each student’s potential

These are just a few examples of how we encourage the students to enhance their learning across the different subjects and the transdisciplinary skills (ATL’s). We find this way of teaching very innovative because it is guiding the students, more than teaching them in a traditional way, how to build concepts and skills across subject areas. With this approach, they can interconnect ideas from different perspectives of understanding. Moreover, we find this method also holistic, since it allows us to embrace each student’s potential and apply their knowledge and abilities in different contexts.