Sustainable Learning Through Curriculum Integration and Responsive Teaching

Sustainable Learning Through Curriculum Integration and Responsive Teaching

Christine A. Osae (Akilah Institute, Davis College, Rwanda)
Copyright: © 2022 |Pages: 21
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-8032-5.ch007
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Abstract

One of the principal challenges the education system faces presently is the discrepancy between what is learnt in class and the reality outside class. Due to the constant changes and rapid transformation in the world today, most students are undoubtedly training for jobs that may not exist when they finally graduate. How can educators prepare students for such a diverse and dynamic world? What does it take to produce highly innovative graduates that creatively apply outside-the-box solutions (locally rooted and globally scalable) to the world's most pressing issues? This chapter recommends an approach to education that focuses on learning as a process that creates both lifelong and life-wide learners as opposed to rote learners whose success is dependent on their ability to regurgitate content. The chapter demonstrates how Davis College and Akilah promotes sustainable learning through integration and responsive teaching and how the faculty development process plays a key role in this.
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Introduction

The rapid changes in the world occasioned by technological advancements, globalization, pandemics, diversity and knowledge explosion constantly render fixed curricula and traditional pedagogical practices obsolete (Dar-es-Salaam-Declaration, 2010 & Hoff, 2009). How can educators prepare students for such a diverse and dynamic world? What does it take to produce highly innovative graduates that creatively apply outside-the-box solutions (locally rooted and globally scalable) to the world’s most pressing issues, and agile leaders able to reconfigure their skills to match the complexity of imminent challenges?

The answer to these questions is an approach to education that focuses on learning as both a life-long (sustainable) and life-wide (comprehensive) process. An approach that results in highly skilled critical thinkers and problem solvers able to navigate the intricacies of rapid and unpredictable change, as manifested in new careers, new technologies or even cultural shifts (Berman and Graham, 2018). In order to create mental conditions and processes students need to continue learning and to acclimate to new situations, it is imperative that the focus in education shifts from fixed knowledge imparted in course silos to learning processes and capabilities applicable across curricula (Blasé, Van-Dyke, Fixsen & Bailey, 2012; Berman and Graham, 2018). This can be accomplished through curriculum integration (CI). The all-inclusive approach to learning through curriculum integration (CI) affords learners the opportunity to integrate new learning experiences with previous learning, leading to an in-depth and broader understanding of concepts (Bacon, 2018).

However, without proper implementation through learner-centered teaching and learning practices that respond to learners’ individual needs, as well as a well-trained faculty to enact the theory in practice, the integrated curriculum becomes an abstract concept. Learner-centered strategies guided by the principles of responsive teaching and learning (RTL) are germane to the enactment of the integrated curriculum (Colley, 2018). Based on the cognitive science of how students learn, responsive teaching blends planning and teaching by pivoting and adapting instruction to student’s needs (Fletcher-Wood, 2018). It (RTL) is an effective way to align the potential discrepancies that may arise in the enactment of the integrated curriculum vis-à-vis students’ needs by guiding the pivoting of instructional practices to suit the needs of individual learners while informing further curriculum modification. This chapter demonstrates how Davis College and Akilah promotes sustainable learning through integration and responsive teaching and how the faculty development process plays a key role in this.

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