Do school subjects, in addition to grade levels, contribute to the illusion of separateness?
Though we may have our preferences, one subject is not more valuable or more useful than the others. Subjects were never supposed to be treated separately or function independently. Subjects (or disciplines) were not designed to compete for the truth.
Each subject is a part of the whole; each contains a piece of the truth and each can be a medium to truths that transcend any defined area of study. Universal truths can be discovered through any subject area.
Picture different coloured slides leading into a pool. Each slide is a subject and the water below contains a deep and vast truth – it doesn’t matter which slide you take; you will arrive. We will all arrive in the same place. All we really have to do is let go and enjoy the ride.
And, while subjects provide content and processes, the learner is not separate from the learning process. The learner is the subject.
When subjects unite, such as in cross-curricular community projects, it becomes apparent that each subject offers a unique perspective and set of skills, which when combined are more indicative of and beneficial to the real world — or to what can become real as we unlearn our tendency to divide and learn to work together.
What would cooperative learning groups and project-based learning look like without the confines of grade levels and subject-specific course schedules? What issues would you illuminate? Or, what successes have you already had implementing cross-curricular community projects and how did you create the space within the structure of the school system?