Young Adolescent Voices: Student's Perceptions of Interdisciplinary Teaming

Boyer, Susan J.; Bishop, Penny A.
November 2004
Research in Middle Level Education Online;2004, Vol. 28 Issue 1, p73
Academic Journal
Interdisciplinary teaming in middle schools has increased dramatically over the past few decades (McEwin, Dickinsen & Jensen, 2003); nevertheless, students have rarely been consulted as important sources of insight into this practice (Dickinsen & Erb, 1997) of two or more teachers sharing the responsibility for instruction, curriculum, and assessment of a common group of students (NMSA, 1995). The purpose of this study was to describe and analyze young adolescents' perceptions of effective interdisciplinary teaming. Qualitative methods were employed to describe, analyze, and interpret the perceptions of 77 middle level students from three middle schools. A multi-genre approach was used to represent the findings, including analytic writing, student-produced photographs, narrative vignette, and poetic transcription. Findings indicated that students felt like trusted members of a community, viewing themselves as self-disciplined and self-directed learners. Students perceived themselves to be growing in confidence, independence, and tolerance, gaining leadership and collaborative skills, and belonging to a family. Data indicate that when schools are organized to support multi-year teams, and when students are invited to collaborate in team governance and learning, many students report positive personal growth.


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