This set of slides has been prepared for a workshop “Interdisciplinary methods for researching teaching and learning”. It summarises some ideas about intellectual work across conventional (disciplinary) boundaries in education. A number of them draw on experiences working in the field of the learning sciences and writing the Epistemic fluency book. The main message is the paradoxical tension between what educational research is as practice and how educational research is organised and institutionalised as a formal research field (aka. discipline).
Last month we co-organised a symposium on interdisciplinary teaching and learning at The Sciences and Technologies of Learning Research Fest. As some colleagues were asking for access to our slides, we have uploaded them into our “slideware”. There are two presentations:
The first presentation “Teaching people to think and work across disciplinary and professional boundaries” comes from the symposium session (Symposium abstract is below). In our presentation, we provided an overview of the “zoo” of different definitions, taxonomies and classifications of interdisciplinarity and inter-professionalism. Most of these ideas are based on chapters in the Oxford Handbook of Interdisciplinarity. We also introduced some current discussions about the “shapes” of interdisciplinary expertise. Brief explorations of these ideas could be found in the linked pages about T-shaped and E-shaped people.
The second presentation “Learning to work across boundaries – opportunities for research and innovation” was a summary (by Lina) of the symposium – as part of the Research Fest’s closing plenary discussion. It briefly outlines our view of: i) what interdisciplinary skillfulness looks like, and ii) what kinds of educational research could help us to improve interdisciplinary teaching and learning.
When our students and colleagues hear the term “epistemic fluency” for the first time they usually ask us two common questions: “Is it about interdisciplinarity?”; “Is it about expertise?” Perhaps the most straightforward answer is: “Yes” and “Yes”. Epistemic fluency is about interdisciplinarity and about expertise. To put it short – epistemic fluency is a capacity that underpins interdisciplinary expertise. However, this answer warrants some explanation of what we mean by “interdisciplinarity” and what we mean by “expertise”.