The Fulcrum of Interdisciplinary Teaching and Learning
As WT expands its commitment to progressive education, the importance of interdisciplinary learning and teaching becomes ever more apparent—and so do the possibilities for the Joan Clark Davis Center for Interdisciplinary Learning.
“The magic is in teachers working together with colleagues and with students—bringing classes and disciplines together,” explains Fech. “The Davis Center will inspire people to think differently, to allow for flexibility and collaboration in new ways that foster critical thinking and problem solving.”
“Interdisciplinary learning is one of the goals that teachers have been asked to work on in the Upper School,” says Director of Upper School Dr. Anne Fay. “Some exist already, such as Machine Learning and the Implications of Artificial Intelligence (AI), and Interactive Storytelling and Video Game Design. Other courses under development include Memory, Culture, and Identity, which will engage students in science, history, music, art, and rhetoric as they examine memory as a process grounded in science and formed through social interaction and cultural experiences. In all these courses, one goal is for students to learn that successful engagement with complex problems requires the involvement of multiple disciplines.”
Equipping students to acquire knowledge, and to become adept at adapting and applying it, is an outcome that students and families should expect of progressive education, Fech offers. “I think that’s what makes our students more interesting to colleges, because they do think in this way. They’re going to challenge the system. They will have already made these connections in interdisciplinary ways that many of their peers—who went through a much more classical program that segmented things by design—will not have done.”