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Cross-curricular approaches to programme design

Classical studies examines the people, places, and events of the classical world and their influence on other cultures. By exploring diverse values and traditions, viewed from different cultural perspectives, classical studies prepares students for informed and active citizenship in New Zealand and the modern world.

Students are best able to explore this idea if they are offered learning experiences that:

  • link the six key concepts of classical studies (citizenship and society, culture and identity, empire and power, conflict, art and aesthetics, heritage)
  • make use of global, national, and local contexts
  • are relevant to the students’ interests and concerns
  • relate to the appropriate curriculum levels.

Ideally, teachers and students are able to work across learning areas. Teachers will need time to meet and plan together. A level of flexibility may need to be introduced into the quite restrictive timetables that operate in most schools.

Possible models for a cross-curricular classical studies programme

It may be possible to include aspects of classical studies within a cross-curricular collaborative course of study that includes several subjects.

For example, a school with a small senior roll may wish to design a programme that includes half a year of classical studies and half a year of art history. In such a case, the teacher needs to ensure that sufficient credits are obtained to meet university entrance requirements.

See Connections for ways that classical studies can make links to other learning areas.

The section Cross-curricular learning and external qualifications identifies some of the many ways that learning in classical studies can be assessed using achievement standards from other learning areas.

Two examples of team teaching

  • Sophia wanted students to gain an appreciation of Roman technology. During a lunch break, she and the technology teacher decided that, after studying Roman education, including curricular and classroom materials, students would create a writing tablet in technology class using wood and wax. The technology teacher suggested that the students could then decorate their tablets with Greek or Roman motifs in their art classes.
  • Sione wanted to bring to life a passage from the Aeneid in which Dido confronts Aeneas, having just found out that he is planning to leave her. Sione collaborated with the drama teacher to design a drama assessment around a performance of the scene. Classical studies students watched the performance and then discussed the characters and the classical values. This embodiment of the text enabled students to reflect more deeply on it.

Students will work in teams in the workplace, developing group and interpersonal skills in classical studies to build towards this transition to the workplace.

Where possible, the physical environment should support co-operative learning, for example, through the flexible use of space.

Some possible structures for collaboration with other learning areas

Teachers from different learning areas could:

  • plan classical studies learning across the curriculum and then teach their sections of the overall plan within their specialist areas. Classical studies could provide a curriculum focus for either a year group or the whole school.
  • plan schemes of work around a common theme, with teachers and students making explicit connections between social and classical aspects (for example, from English, the arts, science, and social studies.)
  • focus learning in literacy and numeracy on suitable classical studies content, explored via inquiry into a social issue and action based on the inquiry.
  • develop a programme that can be taught using a team approach. Assessment opportunities from classical studies and other subjects are offered, and students make choices based on their needs. For example, teachers from science, English, and history, plan schemes of work around a common theme, such as ethics and codes of behaviour.
  • Arrange for a school to collapse its timetable for a limited period (three days to two weeks) or a specified time each week. Students and teachers use a range of skills and knowledge from, for example, the arts, classics, and history to inquire into a social issue and implement an action. This approach can involve the students from a single year group or across the whole school.
  • structured a school year around semesters with students choosing multi-disciplinary courses based around an inquiry topic or theme.

Last updated August 16, 2010