Graduate Research Papers


Open Access Graduate Research Paper


Interdisciplinary approach in education; Education, Primary--Curricula; Curriculum planning; Holistic education;


This study examined teacher talk and actions under two conditions: ( 1) subject-integrated lessons of an integrated curriculum unit on African culture ( experimental condition); and (2) single subject-focused lessons of a traditional separate subject curriculum on mathematics time and money measurement (control condition). The study sought to define and compare characteristics of both curriculum approaches. Although the study was primarily qualitative with observations being recorded by the researcher that were subsequently sorted into categories through a constant comparison method, counts of frequency of observations in categories were recorded, resulting in a mixed-methods design.

The observations were collected in two stages. In stage 1, preservice teachers instructed first and second graders in making authentic papier-mache masks during an integrated African unit. In stage 2, two teachers conducted the mathematics lessons in the same classroom at the same school. Fourteen hours of observations were collected in each phase. In the integrated curriculum setting, the teacher was a facilitator of teamwork, offering choices, and giving praise; students made choices, decisions, and worked collaboratively. In the traditional setting, the teacher role delivered direct instruction and controlled behavior; students followed directions, recalled knowledge, and worked individually. Less teacher energy was expended for behavior management in the integrated curriculum setting, indicating intrinsic motivation of students. Implementation of integrated curricula is recommended because of the student-centered focus that results in greater motivation, ownership, and teamwork, along with deeper knowledge connections. Because many factors hinder implementation, teachers need support when first teaching with this approach.

Year of Submission


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Education


Department of Curriculum and Instruction

First Advisor

Audrey C. Rule


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Date Original


Object Description

1 PDF file (viii, 83 pages)



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