A Transdisciplinary Approach to Learning

Mike Gilmour, Early/Primary Years Deputy Principal February 26, 2019
A Transdisciplinary Approach to Learning

Everyday schools across the world work hard to fulfil their commitment to educate children and provide them with opportunities to develop and succeed. Regardless of the context, I have witnessed a deep and genuine desire within most schools around the world to see their students excel. This desire is the very essence of what makes a school successful.

While there is this common desire shared among schools, the method each school uses to achieve its objective will vary according to their needs and student population. There are a wide range of curriculum models as well as pedagogies in place throughout the world and each has its own merits.

At GEMS World Academy (Singapore), our Early and Primary Years students learn within a transdisciplinary framework which is globally significant and transcends traditional subject areas. Our units of inquiry within each transdisciplinary theme are designed to highlight commonalities between the student experiences and perspectives and identify conceptual connections between traditional subject areas.

We believe that a transdisciplinary approach to learning within the Early and Primary Years is both relevant and beneficial to student learning. Students are able to make connections between traditional subject areas like Mathematics, English and Physical Education and do not develop a compartmentalised understanding of knowledge. This approach has proven not only to provide young learners with a firm foundation for later academic success, we believe that it also prepares our students for success in a rapidly evolving world.

While most parents did not experience a transdisciplinary approach to education during their schooling, it is important that the methodology is clearly understood so that collaboration between home and school can be effective. The traditional subject areas will continue to be taught and assessed with rigour. However, the delivery of these lessons will differ from what a parent may have experienced in the past.

We believe passionately in a transdisciplinary approach to education which the Primary Years Program from the International Baccalaureate provides for us. It enhances student creativity and agency, and also allows our teachers to plan and deliver the curriculum in a collaborative manner.

Please do not hesitate to contact any member of the Early and Primary Years Leadership Team should you have any queries about our transdisciplinary approach to learning.


Mike Gilmour
Deputy Principal
Early & Primary Years


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