The art of transdisciplinary planning requires that teachers view subject areas as part of an integrated whole versus separate blocks, which is easier said than done for most. Whether you are asking others on your team to plan this way, or you are being asked yourself, there are a few things you can do to help implement this line of thinking.
Firstly, although it’s important to calculate how many hours each subject area must be taught throughout the year, consider creating a second more open version of your timetable. For example, your more traditional timetable may look something like this:
A second more flexible version may help your team or yourself to see blocks of time as integrated wholes vs separate blocks, as in the modified timetable below:
Using the second timetable as a frame of reference to start planning from changes the way subjects are viewed, from separate to whole, as blocks of time are not referred to singly but lumped together so one can visually understand that when planning for a day; for example, on Monday a mainstream teacher has 3 hours to integrate Language Arts, Math and Science outcomes and lessons together. As for the specialist Art teacher, they are encouraged to view their subject area not only as “Art” but “Art” mixed with other subject areas. This is but one way the timetabling could be done – whether for your team or yourself, you can be thinking about which subjects to place on which days to create different combinations of integrated subject area “learning blocks”.
A second thing you can do to encourage transdisciplinary planning is to rethink the planners you are using. While traditional planners tend to focus on single subject areas in single time blocks, consider developing a lesson planner that integrates subject areas, like the one below that was designed for a mainstream teacher:
This day planner was kept very general to give an idea of what one could look like. Creating a format like the one above allows your team or yourself to view specific lessons as an interwoven combination of several different subject areas, ensuring that transdisciplinary planning is occurring at the highest levels. To take things a step further, if the mainstream teacher and the Art teacher collaborate and share plans, the Art teacher can integrate some of the outcomes being covered in the Math, Language Arts and Science “learning blocks” into their lesson.
These are a but a few tips to help guide you; if you are working at an IB school and would like to explore other ideas for transdisciplinary planning, see the following articles:
The Transdisciplinary Framework
How to Run Your IB Planning Meetings Like a Boss Using a Transdisciplinary Framework
The Transdisciplinary Planners
Feel like you may need further guidance? Contact us! We are always happy to help!