The new Junior Cycle programme encourages more exploration of the connectivity between traditional subjects areas.
What does innovation look like? How about changing over from normal subject based classes to allow for integrated learning through projects?
The new Junior Cycle creates a very interesting opportunity in Irish education to connect learning across the subjects. It is influenced by the success of the phenomenon-based approach to learning in the Finnish Education System.
Phenomenon-based learning crosses the boundaries between subjects. Broad topics of interest to the students, which can be examined from multiple perspectives and which motivate them to learn, are selected as possible themes of a phenomenon-based learning approach, for example, topics connected with the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, human rights, climate change and the European Union. Students research their chosen topic from multiple perspectives, for example, the immigration crisis in the EU can be examined from a historical perspective, a geographical perspective, a statistical perspective and from the perspective of economics, to name a few.
At ETSS Wicklow, we will encourage interdisciplinary work between subject teachers and explore the potential of building phenomenon-based learning weeks into the calendar to promote creativity and critical thinking through the exploration of topics from multiple perspectives in project environments. At present, we are planning for our first phenomenon-based learning week in March.
WHAT TOPIC? Teachers present options and students choose a general area of study that interests them and then a project topic within that area.
HOW TO APPROACH THE TOPIC FROM DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVES - Subject teachers discuss with students options to integrate their subjects into the chosen topics of learning
WHY IS THIS A GOOD WAY TO LEARN? Students experience learning in a diverse way that shows that all learning is connected.