Living transdisciplinary curriculum: Teachers’ experiences with the ınternational baccalaureate’s primary years programme

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Michael J Savage Susan M Drake


An integrated curriculum that is transdisciplinary in nature seems to be a good fit for 21st Century learning. There are, however, few examples of transdisciplinary curriculum at the K to 12 level. One exception is the International Baccalaureate’s Primary Years Programme (PYP) which features transdisciplinary curriculum for students from ages 3 to 12 around the world. This phenomenological study explored the lived experience of 24 PYP educators to deepen understanding of what such a curriculum looks like in practice. Three main themes were identified. The first, “It’s a framework” outlines participants’ understandings of transdisciplinary teaching and learning and the freedom a transdisciplinary framework can bring. The second theme, “Get on board”, examines participants’ thoughts around what is required to successfully implement a transdisciplinary curriculum. The final theme, “Their learning journey”, discusses participants’ beliefs around the success of a transdisciplinary curriculum. In general, participants appreciated the transdisciplinarity of the program. Concerns revolved around implementation issues. Suggestions on how to implement transdisciplinary teaching and learning in other contexts are provided.


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SAVAGE, Michael J; DRAKE, Susan M. Living transdisciplinary curriculum: Teachers’ experiences with the ınternational baccalaureate’s primary years programme. International Electronic Journal of Elementary Education, [S.l.], v. 9, n. 1, p. 1-20, aug. 2017. ISSN 1307-9298. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 01 june 2020.


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