Senior English and the benefits of using an interdisciplinary approach

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Article Summary
David Fletcher’s article ‘Interdisciplinary perspectives in teaching secondary school English’ discusses the issues around English being taught as an isolated subject. Fletcher recommends that English teachers strive to integrate other subjects into English, and suggests that this will result in student engagement and better results. While he acknowledges that English’s more traditional goals should still be achieved, they should “be pursued in conjunction with the added interest that various disciplines can offer” (1980, p. 81). Fletcher addresses the interdisciplinary debate by drawing from other scholars, giving evidence as to why interdisciplinary approaches are favourable, and recommending ways towards teaching an integrated English.
The article is broken into five sections. The first of these, titled ‘Interdisciplinary Teaching of Reading, Study and Communication Skills’ suggests the need to provide students with a range of skills that are applicable to all areas of the curriculum. Fletcher addresses the issue of reading comprehension, and suggest that we should be teaching students reading skills that they can apply to subjects like maths, science, business, as well as English. The section also outlines the ways in which English should integrate things that the students are interested in. Fletcher uses Venditto’s example of students who are interested in automobiles, “Cooperation with the industrial arts faculty centred on reading technical prose in automotive magazines, teaching practical research skills necessary to obtain information about automobiles, and writing business letters” (1977, p. 141).
The section titled ‘English in Interdisciplinary Career Education’ is about teaching English in ways that bui...

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...ng like an ‘umbrella,’ is fitting as it illustrates that the skills learned in English serve as an “umbrella for interdisciplinary work in the humanities and even in the sciences” (1975, p.116).

Works Cited

Fletcher, D. (1980). Interdisciplinary perspectives in teaching secondary school English. The English Journal 69(2), 81-84. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/815341
Judy, S. N. (1975). Explorations in the teaching of secondary English: A source book for experimental teaching. New York, N.Y: Harper and Row Publishers.
Spann, S. & Culp, M. B. (1975). Thematic units in teaching English and the humanities. Urbana, Ill National Council of Teachers of English.
Venditto, J. E. (1977, March). Teaching and reading study skills through interdisciplinary study. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Conference on English Education, Knoxville, Tennessee.

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