Jane Essex reviews this specialist teaching and learing guide
Cross-curricular teaching and learning in the secondary school: science
Eleanor Byrne and Marilyn Brodie
Abingdon, UK: Routledge 2012 | Pp264 | £85 (HB) | ISBN9780415666817
Reviewed by Jane Essex
This is an excellent book, albeit possibly one for a slightly specialist readership. Nevertheless, the stated intention of cross-curricular work to engender ‘knowledge, skills and ingenuity’ is one that would doubtless receive general acclaim.
It is one in a series of publications that considers the relevance and benefits of effective cross-curriculum design and delivery, accompanied by practical examples. It describes the historical precedents and explores the causes of resistance to this style of work, but the authors are clear that they are not advocating a return to theme-based work.
The case studies of practice, which sadly do not extend to pupils beyond Key Stage 3, will be useful to school-based colleagues who are interested in engaging with different perspectives on science. Throughout it makes a strong case for cross-curricular education and I suspect that a number of experienced teachers will find that it refreshes the parts that the National Curriculum cannot reach.
However, this is far from simply a manual showing people ‘how to do it’. It is an academically robust book that is well-supported throughout with references to the relevant literature. These will be helpful to anyone undertaking formal qualifications. It is clearly structured and fluently written, so the task of reading it is far from arduous.
I would strongly recommend this book as a source of support and stimulus for science departments who wish to undertake enrichment of the curriculum, to enhance collaboration with their non-science colleagues or simply to make ‘learning more relevant and accessible’. This may not be a ‘must have’ book for an individual, but it is one that I think many schools and initial teacher educators should consider.
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