Integrated learning engages students in a rich learning experience that helps them make connections across subjects and brings the learning to life. Integrated learning provides students with opportunities to work towards meeting expectations from two or more subjects within a single unit, lesson, or activity. It can be a solution to the problems of fragmented learning and isolated skill instruction, because it provides opportunities for students to learn and apply skills in meaningful contexts across subject boundaries. In such contexts, students have opportunities to develop their ability to think and reason and to transfer knowledge and skills from one subject area to another. Although the learning is integrated, the specific knowledge and skills from the curriculum for each subject are taught.
By linking expectations from different subjects within a single unit, lesson, or activity, elementary teachers can provide students with multiple opportunities to reinforce and demonstrate their knowledge and skills in a variety of contexts. Teachers then evaluate student achievement in terms of the individual expectations, towards assigning a grade for each of the subjects involved.
One example would be a unit linking expectations from the science and technology curriculum and from the social studies curriculum. Connections can be made between these curricula in a number of areas – for example, the use of natural resources, considered from a scientific and an economic perspective; variations in habitat and ecosystems across the regions of Canada, exploring both the biology and the geography of those regions; historical changes in technology; and the impact of science and technology on various peoples and on the environment. In addition, a unit combining science and technology and social studies expectations could teach inquiry/research skills common to the two subjects, while also introducing approaches unique to each.
Ontario’s secondary curriculum is designed to provide opportunities for educators to integrate student learning across disciplines and subjects. Some secondary expectations are written to implicitly connect with and support content learning and skill development outlined in other curricula. For example, the secondary math and science curricula are aligned so that students can apply what they learn in math to what they are learning in the sciences. For instance, in Grade 11 and 12 math courses, students learn the mathematical concepts needed to support learning in chemistry and physics courses in those grades. As another example, expectations in social sciences and humanities are aligned with some of the expectations in the English curriculum.