One of the biggest facts of life is nothing truly exists in isolation, all aspects of our world interchange, link and affect each other. Understanding this concept from a young age allows a child to develop an awareness of themselves and the impact they have on others and the world around them. At Rydes Hill, we find that the best way to demonstrate this to our pupils is to embody it via our cross-curricular teaching. Cross-curricular teaching refers to an approach that integrates the teaching of multiple subjects to create a more holistic learning experience for children. One of the many benefits of being a small school is the ease with which our teaching staff can collaborate to create these additional and unique learning opportunities.
There are many academic and non-academic benefits of cross-curricular teaching, some of which are listed below.
We recognise that children learn in different ways, some of which are not traditionally academic. Integrating different subjects allows our pupils to make connections between seemingly unrelated concepts and topics which helps to promote a deeper understanding of the subject. By providing learning opportunities across many different channels we hope to increase a child’s chance of fully grasping their subjects to ultimately enhance their academic performance. As a School that is academically non-selective, we have found this approach crucial and helps to underline our robust academic success.
Real world relevance and ‘big picture’ thinking:
Cross-curricular teaching demonstrates a topics interconnectedness to the real world. This helps pupils to apply their learning to real-life situations and encourages them to think critically and analyse information from different perspectives. This lays the foundation for the ability to transfer knowledge and skills across different domains, which is a valuable skill for the 21st century.
Increasing motivation and participation:
Teaching from multiple angles helps to make subjects more meaningful and engaging for pupils through an increased variety of teaching strategies, hands-on activities and discussions. By teaching a subject in a variety of ways, we tap into various learning styles that allow our pupils to engage with materials in a way that appeals to them.
By offering cross-curricular teaching we hope and believe that each pupil has the maximum opportunity to fulfil their academic and non-academic potential and above all, develop a love for learning.
Cross-curricular teaching can be seen throughout Rydes Hill. Below is a working example of how cross-curricular teaching brings our lessons to life.
Music can be found everywhere
Our specialist Music department strives to demonstrate how musical details can be directly linked to the world that we live in and how music can be found everywhere. Our Head of Music, Mrs Flude, frequently conducts her classes in our Forest School alongside Mrs Morris, our specially trained Forest School teacher. Together, they point out the rhythms that can be found in the natural environment, focusing on what they are, how they are made and finally, linking back to musical theory and practice. During one lesson, pupils listened to birdsong and constructed corresponding sonogram pictographs using natural materials found in the Forest School. In the following lesson back in the music room, the sonograms were transformed into musical scores and performed to the class.
In other Music and Forest School collaborations, musical instruments are made from natural materials found in the environment and then used to compose music in a particular style that is being studied elsewhere. Basic principles of acoustics are taught by checking pitches produced by different materials found outside vs. man-made instruments. These teachings are later followed by our specialist science teacher Mrs Rowson who reinforces the teaching of musical components such as volume, pitch, vibrations and density from a scientific angle helping our pupils to make connections and strengthen their learning.