28 mars 2012

"Thematic learning" (Critical Guide, E.D. Hirsch Jr)

   A phrase used to describe the "holistic" teaching of different subject matters across a common theme. 
   For instance, the theme of "The Seasons" might combine a study of history, art, science, and mathematics in a particular classroom, or grade, or throughout an entire school. There is much to be said for integrated learning that contextualizes subjects and reinforces them. 

   As with various forms of the "project method," however, thematic learning has proved to be more successful when used with prudence as an occasional device than when used consistently as the primary mode of instruction. 
   One reason for entering this caution is that some subjects require different amounts of exposure than others in order to be learned. History and literature, for example, generally require fewer reinforcements to achieve a learning goal than do certain aspects of math and science, whose procedures must be often repeated and practiced. The thematic approach may or may not provide these needed reinforcements. 
   As with most pedagogical methods, the key is common sense. If students have been well monitored and are known to have mastered the basic subject matters that are to be dealt with in the thematic project, then the method is an attractive way of encouraging student enthusiasm and further learning.

Antipathy to subject-matter content  

"banking theory of schooling" 
"culturally-biased curriculum" 
"outcomes-based education" 
"research has shown"


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This was an excerpt from Hirsch's great book on education :
The Schools We Need 
 and Why We Don't Have Them.
Recension by Richard Askey :  

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