One of the most common things that I see as a consultant is faculties who don’t see the connections across the curriculum between subjects. Students study a range of subjects but teachers are subject specialists and so often see the content that they deliver as something that stands apart from everything else.
We need to change this kind of thinking. Great innovation and great thinking comes from joining knowledge together. A recent article in The Sydney Morning Herald by Dr Caitlin Abbott makes the observation that:
The cliche of the isolated, lone genius is an anachronism. Science is a field dependent on collaboration. The most effective and successful scientists are those who can write and speak about their research creatively and engagingly. And students aren’t being taught this.
Abbott argues for University courses where scientists study poetry modules and where “we reiterate constantly the importance of language in any field.”
This idea needs to feed back into our schools too. Too often English is seen as a compulsory subject with little or no relevance beyond an ATAR score. If schools can collaborate across subjects to create a culture of learning and literacies, students are likely to see the importance of being able to effectively communicate their ideas.
As Abbott notes:
Language is our most important method of communicating meaning. We are minds trapped within bodies and our only way of getting what is inside across to another mind is through language.