Ways and Problems of an Integrated Curriculum in German Secondary Schools

Uwe Maier

Abstract


The implementation of curriculum integration is one of the far-reaching goals of the last two curriculum reform programs in Baden-Württemberg (Germany), implemented in 1994 and 2004. The expectations of school reformers are high. There is a vast literature that offers suggestions and techniques for integrating different subject matters. Despite the considerable literature, reports of empirical research are very scarce. The aim of this study is to describe commonalities and problems encountered when integrating teaching units in the German "Hauptschule". Students of the educational university in Schwäbisch Gmünd conducted 39 interviews with teachers and gathered qualitative data about 81 integrated teaching units. The transcribed texts were analysed with Qualitative Content Analysis. Main results: Integrated curricular units are frequently organized as project-based teaching or group instruction. Teachers favour subjects as fine arts, music or social studies for their interdisciplinary thematic units. Mathematical and scientific topics were neglected for the most part. Another problem is a coherent integration of the disciplinary subtopics to one interdisciplinary perspective. In many cases the only linkage between school subjects is the title of the interdisciplinary thematic unit. Contrary to the educational reform programs for the "Hauptschule", a real integration of the curriculum has not yet been attained.
URN: urn:nbn:de:0114-fqs060130

Keywords


integrated curriculum; interdisciplinary teaching; qualitative content analysis; teaching methods; secondary school; teacher interview



Copyright (c) 2006 Uwe Maier

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