The Case for Interdisciplinary Collaboration at #Edcamp

Edcamp Chile Organizers

At the Edcamp we will create, innovate and collaborate together, teachers from all disciplines, all subjects.

Interdisciplinary collaboration is an imperative of the globally connected world in which we live. The problems of the future will not be solved by individuals working alone, using knowledge isolated to one discipline, but by rather large groups of people working together, combining knowledge of various disciplines, to reach a solution.

Interdisciplinary Learning


The International Baccalaureate® (IB) offers four high quality international education programmes to more than one million students in 144 countries. The IB, as we know, is one of the world’s leading education providers and at the forefront of interdisciplinary teaching and learning. From the IB we have the following definition of interdisciplinary learning, found on page 13 of its “MYP guide to interdisciplinary teaching and learning“:

Interdisciplinary learning is generally defined as the process by which students come to understand bodies of knowledge and modes of thinking from two or more disciplines or subject groups and integrate them to create a new understanding… interdisciplinary learning seeks to yield interdisciplinary understanding. Students demonstrate interdisciplinary understanding of a particular topic when they can bring together concepts, methods, or forms of communication from two or more disciplines or established areas of expertise to explain a
phenomenon, solve a problem, create a product, or raise a new question in ways that would have been unlikely through a single disciplinary means.”

Generally speaking, however, teachers the world over tend to think of themselves as teachers of one particular subject. When asked how we can help students understand the connections of our particular discipline with other disciplines, I suspect we would find it challenging, to provide a satisfactory answer, in most cases. Therefore, interdisciplinary collaboration is an issue which has recieved little or no attention, and teachers should begin to not only explore this area, but exploit it to generate more enthusiasm for their own teaching.

It is generally true that teachers choose their discipline because they are good at what they have chosen to do. Math teachers like Math, they enjoy doing Math. They don’t want to be English teachers, Science teachers, or Music teachers either. Nonetheless, teachers need to work with teachers from other subject areas to make learning more relevant for the needs of their students in the future. The globally connected world we live in makes interdisciplinary collaboration an imperative.

Edcamp Chile

Edcamp Chile is professional development, for teachers, by teachers. Interdisciplinary collaboration is one area Edcamp Chile will be exploring, at Edcamp Santiago, Edcamp Calbuco, and Edcamp Coyhaique, on March 9th, 2013. We will do this, not by asking experts or gurus to come and give a huge presentation on the theory of interdisciplinary collaboration, with hundreds of teachers sitting passively in the audience. Instead, we will be active, participative, and collaborative.

Teachers from 6 countries, the USA, Brazil, Colombia, Argentina, Chile and the UK, will be sharing their knowledge and experiences with one another. We will share on a local, national, and international level, through the use of modern communications and information technology, at Universidad UCINF. Let me name a few examples of what you can expect:

Consuelo Lemos, from Colombia, will share how she integrates the teaching of English and Physics.

Hilda Flández will share how she integrates the teaching of Art, Spanish, and Maths.

Brad Horn, the Regional English Language Officer (RELO) from the US Embassy in Santiago will be showing how he has integrated Information Technology (IT) and the teaching of English through a free, interactive, online website called “Trace Effects”.

Tomás Thayer, from Universidad Metropolitana will be demonstrating PICALAB, an innovative and creative approach to teaching Maths through Music.

Silvana Cataldo from Argentina will be talking about resilience, how to help students develop the capacity to deal with adversity, which is transversal for all subject areas, not confined to one discipline alone.

Constanza Baeza Fuentes, Directora Ejecutiva Corporación CreArte, will be talking about how CreArte uses Drama and Art to help underprivileged, low socioeconomic, disadvantaged, high-risk for academic failure, children to achieve excellent results.

There are many more examples I can give, but I want to also mention YOU. Yes, you, the individual teachers who attend Edcamp Santiago, Edcamp Calbuco, Edcamp Coyhaique. You are also doing great and wonderful things in your schools. You are using drama, using art, using music, using Physical Education, using technology, etc. in order to teach your own discipline, your subject.

We want you to come to the Edcamp prepared to share, to tell your story, to tell us about your schools, your students, and your interdisciplinary teaching. WE will be surprised to find out we have been teaching in a interdisciplinary, collaborative, participative way, but we simply did not have a name for it.

Interdisciplinary collaboration is what we call it. Please come and share your knowledge, experience, and opinions about this topic with us. Edcamp Chile is for teachers, by teachers. It is the conference in which you, the individual teacher, is more important than the big name experts, the gurus, the researchers, the people who write books, etc.

Edcamp Chile: Edcamp Santiago, Edcamp Calbuco, Edcamp Coyhaique – this is your conference, an unconference, uncommon, but the program is your program. You make the program what it is, beginning the first hour of the day, and we live it together.

See you at the Edcamp, at the conference where you get to be the star… Come prepared to share your knowledge, because everyone and anyone can be a presenter, lead a session, or start a conversation…

At the Edcamp we will create, innovate and collaborate together, teachers from all disciplines, all subjects, all areas of education.

See you at the Edcamp!


About profesorbaker

Thomas Baker is the Past-President of TESOL Chile (2010-2011). He enjoys writing about a wide variety of topics. The source and inspiration for his writing comes from his family.
This entry was posted in Bachillerato Internacional (BI), Cultura, Desarrollo Profesional, EdcampStgo, Educación, Pedagogía and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to The Case for Interdisciplinary Collaboration at #Edcamp

  1. Beth Armstrong says:


    Does anyone have any ideas on redesigning an ESL immersion school (ESL) to enhance creativity and how to assess these students?

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