Interdisciplinary/cross-curricular teaching is often seen as a way to address some of the recurring problems in education, such as fragmentation and isolated skill instruction.

Teams of teachers all over the Westwood Prep schools are engaging in the best practice of discovering places where test subject matter content intersects, then collaborating to plan lessons and projects that intersect multiple subject areas.

What is Interdisciplinary/Cross-Curricular Teaching?

Interdisciplinary/cross-curricular teaching involves a conscious effort to apply knowledge, principles, and/or values to more than one academic discipline simultaneously. The disciplines may be related through a central theme, issue, problem, process, or topic.

It is seen as a way to support goals such as transfer of learning, teaching students to think and reason, and providing a curriculum more relevant to students.

In these ways, service learning is designed to increase interest, autonomy or self-direction,
relatedness, and competence and is therefore considered “one of the best tools for engaging
the ‘reluctant learner,’ a student who is disengaged from the learning process.

It allows the study of objects, concepts and events from different angles and can put these various subjects into perspective in relation to each other.

Cross-curricular teaching, or instruction that intentionally applies multiple academic disciplines simultaneously, is an effective way to teach students transferable problem solving skills, give real-world meaning to school assignments, and increase engagement and rigor.

CTA The tremendous power of a river is diminished when it is fragmented into little streams. However, when the streams are channeled together, it then can develop a deep flow. So it is with learning.


Her argument is that while the formal curriculum is necessary, the hidden curriculum provides a more holistic approach in ensuring that students’ cognitive, psychological and behavioural traits are taken into consideration when devising a curriculum.


CTA Our faculty and staff leverage cross-unit and community partner collaborations to produce powerful analyses that embrace multiple perspectives

Connecting knowledge and skills – Making the links explicit

Two things happen. First, students are encouraged to integrate learning experiences into their schemes of meaning so as to broaden and deepen their understanding of themselves and their world. Second, they are engaged in seeking, acquiring, and using knowledge in an organic – not an artificial – way.

When teachers identify ways to share curriculum, it aligns learning through multiple disciplines and supports a teacher’s creativity. At the same time, students scaffold learning by building their knowledge of one subject upon another.


The benefit of the interdisciplinary method is its student-centered, student-engaged, and student-shared approach. It is also an effective strategy since it reinforces students’ prior knowledge, learning, and understanding learning objectives.

Cross-curricular learning allows for more inter-connected lessons that capture your students’ imagination. It also enables them to identify patterns of information between subjects that will help to enforce key knowledge.

1) Applies, Integrates, and Transfers Knowledge

According to Westwood research team, while students are learning the basic information in core test subject areas, they are not learning to apply their knowledge effectively in thinking and reasoning.

Interdisciplinary/cross-curricular teaching provides a meaningful way in which students can use knowledge learned in one context as a knowledge base in other contexts in and out of school.

2) Increases Motivation
Interdisciplinary/cross-curricular teaching can increase students’ motivation for learning and their level of engagement. In contrast to learning skills in isolation, when students participate in interdisciplinary experiences they see the value of what they are learning and become more actively engaged.

3) Real-Life Learning

Schools must prepare students to the complexity of the real world. Interdisciplinarity turns knowledge into a coherent whole and bring lessons into the real world.

Interdisciplinary/cross-curricular teaching provides the conditions under which effective learning occurs. Students learn more when they use the language arts skills to explore what they are learning, write about what they are learning, and interact with their classmates, teachers, and members of the community.