To integrate means to coordinate, blend, or bring together separate parts into a functioning, unified, and harmonious whole. According to McNeil (1985), curricular integration assists students to identify the links, not only between ideas and processes within a single field, but also between ideas and processes, in separate fields, and in the world outside of school.
The integration of knowledge and skills can be categorized according to three main types of curricular connections
It is also imperative that the cognitive, affective, and social domains provide a context for learning, and they become an integral part of the teaching-learning process, regardless of the type of curricular integration (D'Hainaut, 1979 in Legendre, 1993). These domains are non-subject specific and involve the active and deliberate construction of meaning. Appendix A - A Generic Model of a Teaching-Learning Process provides a model for integration.
An intradisciplinary approach involves an arrangement of the knowledge and skills within one subject area. This approach respects the subject's way of knowing distinct conceptual structures and methods of inquiry. It aims at integrating the subject's knowledge and skills into a coherent whole. Also a part of this approach is vertical integration where knowledge and skills within one subject area are connected from grade-to-grade (teachers need to be aware of the scope and sequence of their subject area in Kindergarten through Senior 4).
In a multidisciplinary or a pluridisciplinary approach, subject areas are independent of one another. In this approach, teachers deliberately coordinate the timing and delivery of related topics, but they make no attempt to synthesize or draw together different subject area perspectives.
Note: Before teachers can begin to make connections between subject areas, the first type of integration, intradisciplinary integration, must be established.
An interdisciplinary approach (also called horizontal integration) connects the interdependent knowledge and skills from more than one subject area to examine a central theme, issue, problem, topic, or experience. It is a holistic approach that stresses linkages.
A transdisciplinary approach places the characteristics, needs, interests, and personal learning processes of students at the forefront of the learning experience. Students engage in independent projects which aim to develop
As students work on projects, they acquire knowledge and skills that are based in the subject areas. However, the subject areas are subordinate to the project goals.