INTERDISCIPLINARITY IN HIGHER EDUCATION
The aim of our work is to reflect on the importance of interdisciplinarity on the teaching/learning process in higher education. By consulting an extensive bibliography as well as from our own experience of nearly ten years, we can say that interdisciplinarity may help in dissociating knowledge produced and guide production of a new order of knowledge. This constitutes a necessary condition to improve the quality of higher education since it guides the student towards comprehensive training. Exercising interdisciplinarity in higher education requires profound changes in academic life, opening effective spaces for the practice of scientific inquiry and research. Those changes include the revision of curricula such that they are formulated in an integrated fashion. This, in turn, fundamentally changes the role of the teacher. It is insufficient to integrate the curriculum; that integration must be experienced.
In traditional education the process of handing down knowledge was centred on the teacher. The drivers of the “new school” substitute this handing down with educating students through their own experience. The activity, then, assumes a special importance in their learning. It is now up to the educator to intervene in the objective conditions to foster a favourable environment for the development of the learner in conjunction with his needs and abilities. This finding has lead us to reflect on the need to resort to interdisciplinarity so that we can work in unison with the students for a more productive education.
Interdisciplinarity emerged in the 70s to respond to the need for an approach to integrate reality to a greater extent. Even if is often thought of as a fad or simply carrying out merely apparently or pseudo-interdisciplinary projects in the field of education, it stems from the chance that, through it, it is possible to overcome the problem of excessive specialization. In this way, it contributes to linking knowledge to practice (DENCKER, 2002, p. 19)
As we are convinced of the inefficacy of the passive classroom methodology, we want an education based less on transmitting knowledge and focused more on developing skills. On the other hand, the role of the school today should be to prepare students for the professional world since the ability to be a critical and autonomous individual are no longer only a privilege of citizenship, but rather have become the foundation of professional activity.
Thus, we propose an active method in which the true protagonist is the student and the object of study is our surroundings – the city of Lamego.