Interdisciplinary education - making connections between ideas

Interdisciplinary education allows students to make connections between ideas and concepts across different disciplines. We believe that this can vastly improve their understanding of subject areas in a chosen career.

Professor Chris Kemp (MOM CEO) talks about how valuable interdisciplinary education is and how we should use this approach more. He says:

When I asked my grandson why he was only interested in two school subjects, he said, “It’s because all the rest of the subjects are boring and have no relevance”. Being someone who failed all of their GCEs bar English Literature at the first attempt I could really sympathise with this view. It wasn’t really until I left college with a degree in human movement (Physical Education to anyone else) that I realised that I should have really paid more attention at school.

Vocational education is really coming to the fore after many false starts – those Eton Boys in politics are starting to realise how unready they are to govern our country without the tools they need, and how pointless their learnings were from a “classics” education.

Why do we continue to teach subjects without linking them to real life situations and learnings? Without this form of delivery, will our children ever be fit or able to enjoy work?

Understandably, Mathematics and English form the bedrock of most employment opportunities. However, we should also be training plumbers, tilers, builders (and those from every conceivable profession), the rudiments of maths to start their own businesses (spreadsheets etc.); and to measure various aspects of dimensions, pressures, forces and so on and so forth (as they do later anyway in apprenticeships).

We have participants on our courses who cannot read and/or write and we use oral examinations; finding that they are some of the most able and mentally agile participants that we have. The number of participants in this category are reducing and whether this is a positive or negative I am yet to make up my mind.

Having taken a Master’s in Arts Administration and successfully negotiated a PhD in Cognitive Psychology, I know how valuable an interdisciplinary education is. When working in the field, my team has to use technological, physical, psychosocial, physics, mathematics, language, medical and many other areas in the same project. Without these our grasp of crowded spaces, critical situations, risks and problems may all have a very different outcome. You may say, well why not hire in those with these skills? The answer is we do as our teams are carefully chosen and are a mixture of highly motivated experts in many fields, but all with overlapping skills, so that second and third opinions are always on hand.

It’s all about where this process starts and finishes. The end point is in doing things without thinking and making decisions based on experiential and academic learning. The start point should be the creation of a school’s system which is fit for purpose. Following the school curriculum and exam systems we have been around in four complete circles since the 1960’s but seem no further forward.

Interdisciplinary education - connecting ideas

About Mind Over Matter Consultancy

We work in the fields of event safety, risk management, leadership, crowd safety, emergency planning, crowd science and counterterrorism.

We are very proud to work with a highly skilled set of experts. Find out more about our fantastic team of educators here…

We have current courses that use an interdisciplinary approach, such as our MSc in Crowded Space Design, Management and Risk Analysis. This MSc is a partnership with Edinburgh Napier University. Find out more here…