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"Integrating Knowledge"


Hi, Win,

I read your message and your paper with great anticipation of learning something new. But I found at your site that this was mostly designed for students in high-school or college.

Now I'm out of college already, so I would like the gist of the whole Integration Day procedure so I can apply it to myself. Do I understand it correctly that Integration Day procedures include two "steps"? One is the expectation of integration by the teachers and the other is the discussion groups where students are required to find out relationships and structural similarities between two or more subjects. Correct?

Now does this by itself assure the integration, or is there another step that I'm not seeing there?

An example I'm thinking is how math, history and physics can come together where a student would find out not only facts about a war or revolution, but be able to calculate for example the velocity of things and stuff like that. Does just this process, repeated over and over, assure integration?

Thanks.

Joe Budy


Win Wenger replies:

For an adult working alone, the best bet would be to learn some elements of general systems theory and complexity (chaos) theory, because those fields' conceptualization of all action, all dynamics, all events, is convenient to understanding events in all fields of study.

Understand that this is just one type of integration of knowledge, and there may be others, Oliver L. Reiser's, for example. For students I'd prefer to leave the bases open and give them a chance to develop their own, especially if in an institutional function like the one suggested, which supported such an activity — the activity of hunting up and recognizing relationships and structural similarities between diverse fields of study.

In some regards, the act of integrating aspects among the subjects they've studied (and reviewing and renewing their knowledge and understanding of same in the process) outweighs the value of any particular integration, at least the integrations we have currently available, including the systems-based one I'm recommending. (There is also the value of the understanding, retention, and better applicability of materials already studied, resulting from handling of those materials.)

I'm pessimistic about getting most teachers in such a program to support the process in their ongoing classes, though this would be extremely desirable. I'm figuring that most of the value of the process will be what the students would do during Integration Day.

Some of the teamwork stages might allow students who didn't have command of the physics, math, etc., to throw together with some who did and vice versa. Relatively few students come through today's schooling process whole. Whoever heads this effort should be pretty skilled at facilitation.

Win Wenger


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