Techniques Magazine Techniques March 2011 : Page 48

Fea ture By Johnny J. Moye Real Integration— Where the Rubber Meets the Road “pUttING CORE ACADEMICS INtO CONtExt, CtE COURSES pROVIDE AN ExCELLENt pLAtFORM FOR StUDENtS tO LEARN ThE RELEVANCE OF SCIENCE, TEChNOLOGY, ENGINEERING AND MAThEMATICS (STEM) AS WELL AS LITERATuRE, ARTS AND SOCIAL STuDIES.“ I NtEGRAtION OF CORE ACADEMICS INtO CAREER AND tECHNICAL EDUCAtION PhOTO BY ISTOCk.COM (CTE) is not new. Integration already occurs and some programs have been very successful (Moye, 2008; Reese, 2003). Putting core academics into context, CTE courses provide an excellent platform for students to learn the relevance of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) as well as literature, arts and social studies. Students’ learn to use this information by applying it to real-world situations. Not only is integration a good idea, it is also a requirement if a school division uses federal Perkins Act funds, (Brustein, 2006). A teacher desiring to integrate core academic information into his or her CTE course needs to understand integration as well as what and how to integrate. State and/or local school divisions determine the content of each CTE course. In Virginia, for example, courses are built upon frameworks. Teachers use these frameworks to develop their lessons, activities and assessments. These frame-works are built upon national academic standards such as mathematics (National Council on Teaching Mathematics, 2000) and science (American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS, 1993)) standards. When a CTE course is correctly taught, “Education should not be viewed as vocational versus academic. Vocational and academic are interre -lated” (Cutshall, 2003). Once teachers understand the national standards in which their courses are built upon they can accomplish true integration. This article will discuss two forms of integra-tion, integrated curriculum and interdis-ciplinary curriculum. Both terms identify valuable approaches to integration Understanding the Definitions A CTE teacher uses an integrated cur-riculum when he or she includes infor-mation from other courses to explain or support a lesson within his or her course. Using an integrated curriculum is a way to teach students that “attempts to break down barriers between subjects, and make learning more meaningful to students,” according to Connect 4 Education’s Integrated Curriculum Guide . An interdisciplinary curriculum is “an edu-cational approach where students study a topic and its related issues in the context of various academic areas or disciplines,” according to the International Technol-ogy Education Association (ITEA, 2000, p. 239). “Interdisciplinary methods work to create connections between tradition-ally discrete disciplines such as math, the sciences, social studies or history, and English language arts,” according to Learn NC, a program of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Education. Getting Started The integrated curriculum method is probably the easiest method to start. A teacher should review his or her course framework and national standards to en-sure that he or she specifically addresses the correct standards in their lessons. For example, one sixth-to eighth-grade geometry standard is to use visualization, spatial reasoning and geometric modeling 48 Techniques March 2011

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