Cross-Curricular Teaching Advantages & Disadvantages

Cross-Curricular Teaching Advantages & Disadvantages
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  • 0:01 What Are…
  • 0:34 Fusion
  • 2:11 Multidisciplinary
  • 3:42 Interdisciplinary
  • 5:37 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Frances Smith
Cross-curricular teaching is a teacher's approach to individual and classroom learning. This lesson examines the advantages and disadvantages of three cross-curricular strategies: fusion, multidisciplinary, and interdisciplinary.

What Are Cross-Curricular Teaching Methods?

When teachers use different strategies to teach a lesson, it is called cross-curricular instruction. While there are different terms to describe the varied methods of cross-curricular teaching, each promote the same goal: prompting students to use multiple skills for learning multiple objectives.

Fusion, multidisciplinary, and interdisciplinary are three different, yet comparable, approaches to cross-curricular teaching. Each of these three methods has advantages and disadvantages for both teaching and learning.


When institutions or teachers integrate traditional curricula with learning tools from other subjects, it is fusion. Fusion promotes students to apply knowledge and skills from one subject, such as math, to understand and perform tasks for another subject, such as science. One example would be an English teacher who naturally integrates writing, vocabulary, and research into her traditional curriculum. Other examples of fusion would be students who use the computer and teachers who routinely use smart boards fuse technology with learning.

Still, fusion may be a disadvantage for students who have insufficient prior learning to benefit from a fused lesson, which may result in them struggling to complete an objective. For instance, Mary's fifth grade class did not learn keyboarding before she entered the sixth grade. Her sixth grade science teacher required that all her students' science essays be typed and formatted. Mary spends an extra hour finishing science, so she misses some homework in her other subjects. On the other hand, Samantha has been keyboarding since fourth grade, where the teacher attached that skill along with note taking and research gathering to her social studies lessons. Samantha manages all of her science lessons and is able to finish all of her homework in time and without stress.

A second disadvantage of fusion is that one tool used to complement a lesson may be too distracting for the students. For example, a social studies teacher used an APA/MLA interactive online game for her eighth grade social studies class in preparation for them to write a research report. Yet, the students spent so much time with the game that they forgot the purpose of the lesson, so it had to be retaught.

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