From Saying to Doing

As I continue in my first interdisciplinary class, I am really getting used to the concept of interdisciplinarity. Although this concept is still extremely fresh to me, it has grown on me for the better and has assisted me in a higher level of education in this short amount of time. I now see interdisciplinary teaching as the way that teaching should be done. I also see the importance in separate disciplines, but the answer to solving problems in a more efficient and effective way is through the way of interdisciplinary learning in a problem-based setting. “Rather than supporting content learning of a single discipline, the problem-based approach puts the problem to be solved before the ‘tools to solve it’” (Stentoft, 2017). This article by the name of, From saying to doing interdisciplinary learning: Is problem-based learning the answer? by Diana Stentoft, truly resinated with me as well as did a great job of summarizing the main points about interdisciplinarity as I have come to know.

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One thing that is most important to me about interdisciplinary studies is how the student is in control of what they learn and how they choose to do so. I have always felt so strongly about this subject since I have always felt that if the student was able to create their own schedule of learning, the outcome would always be higher. I also believe that students will accomplish a higher level of education by being able to create their own way of mastering a subject. Interdisciplinarity separates individuals from the basic way of learning.

There are some challenges to this way of learning. Something that I have learned is that there are multiple barriers to interdisciplinary learning. Stentoft mentions in her article that “The complexities of interdisciplinary learning may add to the discomfort of the teacher who may experience interdisciplinary teaching not only as an opportunity for learning but also as a challenge since he is not the expert within a confined disciplinary field”. This is something that I find agreeable because there has been such a finite way of learning things within a classroom that the teachers will not find it beneficial to stray form the norm. This statement also made me think more in depth on this particular barrier. It made me question why a teacher would not think they are an expert on the disciplinary they are teaching. If instead of learning one discipline, would they have found it more beneficial to learn in an interdisciplinary way? This is a barrier that is important for teachers to overcome. The teachers themselves are the shifters of knowledge and have the opportunity to incorporate interdisciplinary teaching and learning into their curriculums.

Stentoft made it known that her research in this subject has only just begun. “Clearly,

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interdisciplinary PBL is about much more than students addressing a real-life problem, and this should be reflected in the organization and implementation of learning activities” (Stentoft, 2017). I can’t help but wonder how different the concept of learning will be in the future. Although it is impossible to tell, I have confidence that interdisciplinary teaching and learning will become much more prevalent due to its growing popularity and discovery. I found this article one of many that I could truly relate with and one that has helped me better understand why this way of learning is so important.

Article Citation:

Stentoft, Diana. “From Saying to Doing Interdisciplinary Learning: Is Problem-Based Learning the Answer?” Active Learning in Higher Education, vol. 18, no. 1, 2017, pp. 51–61.



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One Reply to “From Saying to Doing”

  1. Thank you for drawing my attention to this article. PSU is working to refigure the undergraduate experience to make it more interdisciplinary, and project-based learning is one of the main ways we’ve talked about doing this, so this article is really right there at the cross-section of two key ideas we have been wrestling with. I look forward to passing this post along to my colleagues, to direct them toward this article, which they should find quite useful. Thank you!

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