Integrated Learning is a method of learning that doesn't isolate education from daily activities such as shopping, eating, earning, playing and fitness exercises.
To learn another language, one typically makes more progress when living and working for only a few months in a country where the language is spoken, compared to spending years on courses and examinations. To get skilled in playing a musical instrument, why not start playing it, rather than to first learn and play from notes! Just pick an instrument such as a hand-drum and immerse yourself in rhythms. More generally, to develop a new skill, why not start doing it?
Does being active with something hold you back? Does being active with something imply that you don't master the technicalities? Does learning only occur when attending seminars, reading about something, doing tests, research, etc?
Integrated Learning argues that doing something is also a good way to learn about it. School teaches children to parrot phrases without the understanding that follows when you are really interested in something and want to learn more about it. At school, subject matter is artificial, exercises are fabricated, wrapped in discipline and lacking the incentives, pleasure and satisfaction of getting something to work in real life. Integrated Learning sees school as an effort to artificially separate education from leisure, work, travel, housekeeping and other daily-life activities.
While Integrated Learning encourages children to participate more fully in society, it does recognise the importance of guidence by parents (or guardians), in fact it encourages all family members to take more interest in each other's lives. Integrated Learning as a lifestyle choice can impact on parents as much as on their children. It's great to make the commitment as a family. Integrated Learning will touch many aspects of the lives of each member of the family and - as school disappears out of focus - the family as a whole will take interest in issues that are more relevant and interesting to them and that will consequently be better understood by them. The outcome of Integrated Learning is a higher quality life for the whole family.
So, what do you think? Do you think education should be separated from other aspects of life? Can education be combined with play, preparing and eating food, etc? Is it possible, perhaps even better, to learn while working? What are the risks, pitfalls and thebarriers against Integrated Learning? We'll go into all that in future posts!