14 June 2023

Interdisciplinary School Subject (IDS) – what is it?

The Holistic Think Tank's flagship idea is the Interdisciplinary School Subject (IDS), defined as "an adjusting to the reality system of guidelines for teaching all school subjects."

Author: Justyna Pokojska,

Source: Pixabay

IDS is a self-authored pedagogical approach that aims to change the way primary schools around the world teach by introducing a holistic approach that shapes and reinforces humanistic values in students in the course of conducting subject lessons.

These values have been identified and described by HTT researchers on the basis of an international phenomenographic study (2021-2022) in the form of a list of “What School Ought to Teach.”

Thanks to IDS, math, history, or chemistry will be taught in the same integrated way to prepare young people for life in a changing world, teach them cooperation and critical thinking, and above all – give them the tools to find happiness and fulfillment in their adult lives.

The implementation of the Interdisciplinary School Subject will contribute to a change in the role of the school, which – from a place of reproductive transmission of knowledge based on a hierarchical teacher-student relationship, will become an environment conducive to the individual development of each student, where they acquire knowledge and skills in an atmosphere of cooperation, trust, and respect for others.

However, IDS is not an ordinary school subject taught – like math or history – in a weekly schedule. IDS is the essence and goal of teaching as an integrated whole. It is inculcated in all school subjects, making the acquisition of specialized subject knowledge only a means to achieve the core purpose of education, which is to shape society in line with humanistic values.

The teaching of IDS takes place within the lessons of particular school subjects – mathematics, history, or chemistry – which, thanks to the adopted system of consistent guidelines, are taught in the same unified way, oriented towards developing the values on the WSOT list. Thus, the goal of each lesson is to shape and reinforce in students humanistic attitudes, such as respect for others, trust, and – so important in this age of rapid technological progress – humanity.

We don’t learn mathematics to memorize the multiplication table but to develop curiosity about the world and the ability to find regularities and patterns in reality around us. We do not learn chemistry to know what ionic dissociation is but to approach nature with respect and understand our place in the universe. Finally – we don’t study languages to learn their vocabulary and syntax but to learn how to express our thoughts and be able to communicate with another person anywhere on earth.

Thus, the individual subjects and issues we discuss in lessons are only a tool and a means to teach the Interdisciplinary School Subject, which aims to reprioritize school teaching and guarantee students a conducive space and conditions that enable their full, all-around development.

At the heart of the Interdisciplinary School Subject is the assumption that every student is an essential part of the teaching process. Everyone plays an important role in it, according to their predispositions and interests. Learning is a MEETING that is the essence of the educational process, understood as a shared discovery of truth and the world’s exploration.

Each student is a unique whole, and only a holistic view of his needs and predispositions will enable him to develop his full potential. And the fullness of humanity.

People are the heart of education. With them in mind, we design and promote the Interdisciplinary School Subject.