Innovation in Language Learning

Edition 16

Accepted Abstracts

Interdisciplinarity: A sharing of practice

Benjamin Buys, Wallonie-Bruxelles Enseignement (Wallonia and Brussels teaching) Segec (Belgium)


I am an English and Spanish teacher in an alternative school in Belgium. In my school, one of the pedagogical focuses is the collaboration of teachers for the creation of interdisciplinary lessons, in parallel with traditional courses. We call these lessons “Workshops”. At the beginning of the creation of the class, both teachers look for common grounds, the objective of the lesson and the different knowledge each one wants to bring. Major difficulties are to find the place of each discipline, how to avoid an approach too multidisciplinary and regarding the language class, how to bring the necessary elements to understanding and expressing skills. My experience led me to realize the positive effects of these sessions on the learners and how mixing two subjects can help them improve their motivation and self-assessment ability.

Living the language:
The interdisciplinary courses are a tool to make the foreign language live differently in the classroom. The studied idiom can be used to analyse scientific texts to solve a problem in biology or chemistry. The language can be used for communication purposes: creating election ads when studying the US election with a sociology teacher. And finally, the language can be mobilized in a social and cultural objective (e.g. still in the case of the US election workshop, meeting young Americans and breaking the students’ representations).

Using progression and self-assessment grids will help the learners to evaluate the development of their knowledge and skills in the study of a foreign langue, but outside a more traditional English class. The learner will get a clearer picture of how learning a foreign language breaks the barrier of the world, opens to meeting other people and cultures, increasing his motivation into learning.

Working in pair is highly interesting because the suggested learning activities can be new and innovative but the students will not be lost as they work with teaching practices they know from two different teachers. It would even raise their interest of one subject or the other. Children with difficulties in biology for e.g. will have a new opportunity to learn this field. On the other side, students with difficulties in a language class can learn new words by understanding texts about subject they like.

The remaining challenge of the interdisciplinary classes mixing a language is to highlight what is really at stake during these lessons. Students can often be confused on what they must learn and miss the opportunity to grow from these lessons. Nevertheless, by experience, I am convinced that the collaboration between teachers, the fact of pushing the limits of different knowledge and skills from several school subjects help the learners to improve and raise motivation.

Back to the list

Reserved area

Media Partners:

Pixel - Via Luigi Lanzi 12 - 50134 Firenze (FI) - VAT IT 05118710481
    Copyright © 2023 - All rights reserved

Privacy Policy