Connecting and Creating for Learning: Integrating Subject Matter Across the Curriculum and the School

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In this article, the authors explore a growing awareness of problems and current developments in classroom and schoolwide research on subject matter integration. Schwab's four common places—including the learner, the teacher, the content, and the context—provide a framework for examining subject matter integration from a language arts perspective. Two lines of classroom-based research are examined that were conducted in response to the lack of integration within the curriculum: Explanation and Responsive Elaboration in Reading and Cognitive Strategies in Writing. As a result of these two lines of research, researchers became more aware of the importance of understanding the complexity of integrating process into content within the context of the classroom and the school. A major shift toward schoolwide integration in two Professional Development School settings is described that was created in response to these research findings. Teachers and researchers within specific contexts generated and implemented integrated instruction and curriculum content collaboratively. The authors conclude with emerging questions and principles for stimulating thinking among teachers and researchers who work toward furthering understanding of language and subject matter integration within specific contexts.

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