The integration of English language arts, science and other subjects : learning from elementary educators' knowledge and practice

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Montana State University - Bozeman, College of Education, Health & Human Development


A cursory review of the literature reveals that integration is a difficult practice to define, yet elementary teachers are quick to speak positively of integration and many claim to integrate in their practice. If there is a lack of consensus about what integration means, what then are these teachers doing when they say that they integrate? Surprisingly, few researchers have taken the time to explore the descriptions and practices of elementary educators. This study investigated five cases in an effort to establish how teachers view the domain of subject area integration. Qualitative data was collected through interviews with the participants and observations of the integrated lessons they taught. The data revealed a healthy mix of commonalities within and differences between the teachers' descriptions and practices. These similarities and differences revealed a model of integration that goes beyond the linear continuums common in the literature. The conclusions of this study propose a model of the domain that consists of four variables. These variables can be used to describe with great detail an individual practice of integration and allow educators and administrators an opportunity to consider and plan for growth in the practice of subject area integration.




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