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Interdisciplinary Learning in the DP

The word 'interdisciplinary' explicitly provides an idea of what interdisciplinary learning is all about! It combines learning from apparently different subjects (disciplines) and forms a cognitive connection between them to discover innovative thinking leading to better problem-solving skills. While it helps students apply knowledge and ideas of a specific domain to multiple other domains, it is equally beneficial for the teachers too. Through the use of various collaboration tools and diverse resources, teachers can implement interdisciplinary teaching and save time while simultaneously imparting unique learning experiences to students. For students learning DP curriculum, interdisciplinary elements of the programme add much value to their experience.

Interdisciplinary Learning - Let's take a closer look!

By blending ideas and attributes of different disciplines and combining them with individual thinking, Interdisciplinary learning in DP establishes a better and wider perspective in students. As a result, students can focus, gauge, and understand any piece of information with a deeper understanding. The interdisciplinary study not only helps develop a strong IB learner profile but, over time, also inculcates critical thinking and portable skills in candidates that help them excel better in every aspect of life.

The learning in DP aims to make the student ready for college. In college programmes, students learn about the real-life application of concepts and here, the skills acquired from interdisciplinary learning aid them.

Interdisciplinary Learning in the DP (International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme)

In some way or the other, interdisciplinarity has been emphasised in almost all IB programmes. Be it the PYP (Primary Years Programme), MYP (Middle Years Programme), CP (Career-related programme) or the DP (Diploma Programme), each programme embeds interdisciplinary studies differently. While PYP involves a transdisciplinary approach, nearly all components of MYP permeate with interdisciplinarity. It is important to notice that though CP and DP cannot be termed as pure interdisciplinary programmes, still they possess elements that infuse and emphasize the interdisciplinary learning approach.

Note that the core elements that students are learning in DP (Theory of Knowledge, The Extended Essay & Creativity-Activity-Service) are highly interdisciplinary while a few subjects (e.g.: Science, Language Acquisition) from the prescribed groups of six subjects (as per IBDP curriculum) also follow interdisciplinary learning. The assessment queries in the programme also test how well the students understand the real-life application of the concepts. In many such questions students are applying their interdisciplinary learning in DP.

Interdisciplinary Learning - Significance & Immense Benefits

To understand the essence of interdisciplinary learning in DP, it is crucial to discuss the benefits that it imparts to the students. Interdisciplinary learning offers several significant benefits to students.

Encouraging flexible learning approaches - Integrating interdisciplinarity in classrooms means providing a wonderful learning opportunity to students. Interdisciplinary learning involves looking at topics with diverse perspectives leading to better learning skills and mental suppleness. Stimulating mental agility and sparkling innovative thought procedure the interdisciplinary learning approach helps IBDP candidates become great learners.

Invigorating teamwork & communication - Interdisciplinary learning embraces teamwork. Students work in groups and learn the value of united efforts. Interdisciplinarity also encourages communication as students are motivated to express their views and thoughts. Productive collaboration and a strong power of expression serve as important life skills.

Fostering complex problem-solving skills - Utilising knowledge of one domain in multiple disciplines develops fresh innovative thinking skills in candidates. This is unique to the DP Core elements where students apply their learning in DP to solve real-life problems. Students learn and benefit by developing the right attitude and approach to solving complex problems.

Stimulates the ability to build connections in varied areas - Most importantly, an interdisciplinary learning approach triggers the unique competency of identifying connections between various topics and areas. The ability to establish/identify connections in different disciplines and topics and relate the same with individual knowledge and information helps students solve diverse issues in the real world.

Creates interest in learning - Most importantly, as interdisciplinary learning in DP is infused with creative engaging methods students get personally connected to learning. They become interested in learning and acquiring knowledge not because of some need or compulsion but because they want to!

Sparking creativity, offering wider and innovative perspectives, and strengthening the willingness to learn, the interdisciplinary learning approach certainly offers diverse benefits to IBDP students. Through interdisciplinary learning in DP, they not only get engaged in unique learning procedures but become great learners for a lifetime!

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