Interdisciplinarity in Education
Interdisciplinarity refers to the mixture of two or more disciplines in a single activity. It draws on various other disciplines such as psychology, anthropology, sociology, economics, etc. it is all about building something new by thinking across disciplines. In a way, this is similar to general theory but in fact, has some differences.
One of the main problems that face us in the present period is the lack of specialists in many different fields. For example in the field of higher education, we have disciplines like humanities and social sciences which seem to be the specializations of the academic institutions. Whereas these fields are generally concerned with having a broad perspective and looking at many different factors.
The interdisciplinary approach allows scholars to think in several disciplines at the same time. There are many benefits of interdisciplinarity. The first is that it promotes a diversity of perspectives. By using different methods and methodologies students can explore theoretical and practical issues in different contexts. This is very useful for dissimilarity in subject matter and they are able to develop their own unique voice.
The second benefit is that interdisciplinarity encourages multiple analyses. In most cases, there will be at least three main areas that need to be discussed in a class. But there are some cases where students can explore more than one discipline. This makes the class discussion more complex and creative. The idea behind the interdisciplinary study is that it brings multiple perspectives together and allows students to learn to think across different disciplines.
Besides promoting diversity, interdisciplinarity can also bring a deeper understanding of the topics. In theory, all fields have their own perspective on the underlying issues and their own research techniques and methods. These are often revealed in the literature and in the common assumptions about the discipline. A deep understanding may need more than just reading the literature. Students should be encouraged to conduct extensive research and to develop their own methodology. They should be encouraged to analyze issues from different angles and to show how each point of view differs from the other.
However, the problem with incorporating an interdisciplinary approach is that it can make things seem more complicated than they really are. Some fields might perceive the other disciplines as overstepping their bounds and trying to get too personal to the issues. However, a deeper understanding of the discipline can easily show that the other side is right on target. The challenge is for the interdisciplinary student to make things clear. It’s important not to get caught up in arguing about the validity of interdisciplinary concepts.
Another issue that interdisciplinary studies encounter is that they’re often seen as being too stylistic or specialized. In other words, if two disciplines have similar themes but different research methods and approaches, then the interdisciplinarity is seen as giving too much away. This is not necessarily true; however, the student needs to realize that stylistic differences do exist and are often brought into play when different approaches are made in the same field. Just because two disciplines can theoretically work together doesn’t mean that they will, but interdisciplinarity certainly offers opportunities for cross-fertilization.
One of the most important aspects of interdisciplinarity is that it allows multiple disciplines to work together and learn from each other. Unlike the case of a singular thesis, multiple perspectives can help provide a richer picture of the issues. A powerful example of this was made famous by Mark Twain in his famous book “Ladies of Leisure”. Twain writes about how a number of French women sat down at a table and made assessments on each other that were completely different from each other yet built on similar principles of the dress. Interdisciplinary Studies offers students an opportunity to see this in action, as well as a way to expand one’s creative thinking through multiple disciplines.