Just how hard is “integrated studies” anyway?

As Co-director of PLCs in the Junior High, I have the exciting privilege (and obligation) to participate in each of the school’s PLCs: English, Math/Science, History, and Language.  Thursday was my first opportunity to observe another PLC in this capacity, and my very first visit to the History PLC.  Within the first few minutes I experienced what I had assumed I would have to wait weeks for: a common thread.

The teachers in the History PLC were planning a lesson and reviewing materials for an upcoming lesson on culture.  Students were to examine the “seven components of culture.”  As the teachers were discussing what seems to them like an obvious conversation to have with 6th graders, a quiet  alarm was going off in my head:

I’ve been teaching Hispanic culture for 15 years and I have yet to have a conversation with kids about WHAT culture is???

I owe my colleagues an apology because I only half-heard the remainder of the conversation because I was rumbling through scenarios in which History and Language teachers can collaborate–perhaps the most obvious of possible integrations among the  Humanities.

Visiting other classrooms and, of course, the Junior High’s Professional Learning Communities has now become part of my job description.  But even if it weren’t, given this delightful experience, I believe that it’s a habit we ALL must develop.  To see the world as other see it is to see another world.

Why pass up that opportunity?  Is 20-50 minutes of our time, precious as it is, really that sacrosanct?

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