Cubes of Compartmentalization

Many schools and education facilities are setup and designed like little mini ice cube trays. Each little cube is a chamber about a specific, isolated topic. Each cube is a subject that is meant for only the teachings of that subject. I don’t believe that any school will admit this and ask anyone and they will tell you it is all about interdisciplinary teaching and all that jazz.

But, when you look at the learning taking place it is very isolated. We no longer have time for social studies in elementary schools because of the stress on literacy and math. Secondary level classes don’t have time to plan with other subject areas because the burden of connecting with the 13,846(might be a bit sarcastic) standards aligned to each core subject takes all their efforts.

Everything in life outside the walls of school is blended together. I don’t stop at using one element of thought or thinking in my day to day tasks. I use a variety of thinking strategies and ideas to solve problems. Everything flows through subjects, skills, actions, and thought.

Why are schools not more like this? I personally believe there is so much on the plate of schools to perform and achieve high levels of data/test scores of proficiency that really don’t mean a whole lot. With this strain there is simply not enough time. We need to blow up the system and restructure what is essential to learning and the students.

We need to move from schools looking like this


to schools that look like this


Using ideas like PBL and Deeper Learning is a good start in that direction.

Restructuring the schedule to allow teachers to connect with their departments as well as teachers from other departments to develop projects and teaching that connects across disciplines. We must lead the way by modeling for students.

It is time we fill our cube trays up where we start to spill over onto the other cubes. We need to mix our flavors to develop new ways of learning. We need to finally make schools the way we want them to be!


**Images made using Fresh Paint app on Surface Pro 3**





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One thought on “Cubes of Compartmentalization

  1. Like your analogy a lot! PBL, deeper learning, etc. also typically add teaming and student control. As such, they add the diversity of the team membership and choices to the approach – additional influences.

    AND, if grades and textbooks were eliminated as well (as I advocate and would implement in any classes I taught), oh how the effective learning would grow!!!