C. Gonçalves1, A. Almeida2, M. Rodrigues3, A. Dias4

1Escola Superior de Educação de Lisboa / Centro Interdisciplinar de Ciências Sociais CICS.NOVA - Faculdade de Ciências Sociais e Humanas - Universidade (PORTUGAL)
2Escola Superior de Educação de Lisboa / Centro Interdisciplinar de Estudos Educacionais (PORTUGAL)
3Escola Superior de Educação de Lisboa / Unidade de Investigação do Instituto de Educação, Universidade de Lisboa (PORTUGAL)
4Escola Superior de Educação de Lisboa / Instituto de Geografia e Ordenamento do Território/Centro de Estudos Geográficos da Universidade de Lisboa (PORTUGAL)
In this paper, we propose to introduce an innovative course, the Master's Course in “Integrated Didactics in Language, Maths, Natural and Social Sciences, in operation at the Lisbon School of Education, discussing in particular the results of the evaluation made by students of the Curricular Unit - Integrated Didactics (CU-ID). We discuss the concept of integration and the principles and objectives of the course, as well as its structure, and, finally, the methodology and the process of assessment of the referred CU.

An integrated curriculum is one in which all parts are linked in a consistent and meaningful way, always bearing a sense of totality. Different parts are connected and integrated in a visible and explicit way. There is a broader and stimulated aim, and all actions are linked to this purpose (Beane, 2000). Integration is broader than interdisciplinary or multidisciplinary, calling for the mobilization of all kinds of knowledge for a greater understanding of the world, and allowing a more systemic and active relationship with culture and knowledge (Alonso & Sousa, 2013).

The course in discussion intends to explore methods, strategies and activities that foster curriculum integration in the first six years of schooling. The CU-ID is organized in modules that aim to deepen the conceptual framework of integration but also to raise their operationalization in intervention projects. For these purposes, it was designed as a space for research, reflection and systematic debate on the identification of methodologies and tools that help to promote integrated learning. To the development of this UC, Language was the main integrator area of work, although other forms of integration were worked, matching pairs of scientific areas, such as Maths and Social Sciences or Natural and Social Sciences.

At the end of the semester, the CU-ID was assessed by the students, in June 2014. The methodology focused on the application of a questionnaire with four open questions, and content analysis of the responses allowed us to create a posteriori categories.

The analysis of the responses enabled us:
(i) to recognize the positive and negative aspects of the curricular unit;
(ii) to identify improvement suggestions for future realizations;
(iii) to identify the views of the students on the evaluation process;
(iv) to better understand their opinion about the study plan.

The results allow us to state that the students recognized, as positive features, the presence of two teachers simultaneously from different scientific areas in all sessions, as well as the invitation of specialists on the subject of integration and of other teachers that already promote forms of integration in schools. As negative features, students noted a lack of integrated work mobilizing simultaneously the four scientific areas of the course and they also indicated the need to contact with more models of integrated education. Consequently, the suggestions for improvement were in line to meet these negative features. The evaluation process of the students was considered correct, due to the fact that it was focused on the design of an integrated project for one of the school years already mentioned.

Therefore, the course seems to be a relevant curricular experience for teacher continuous education and an important step to design curricular units and study plans not focused on a disciplinary approach.