Pre-Service Teachers’ Experiences With Curriculum Integration: A Qualitative Study
Curriculum integration is being adopted worldwide in the 21st century. However, in-service and pre-service teachers often receive little or no training in curriculum integration upon graduating university, which often makes them ill-prepared to implement this strategy. Moreover, because the term lacks universality and clarity in both theory and implementation, it has become a source of confusion and anxiety for educators. This qualitative study examined the amount of curriculum integration training received by teacher candidates at a medium-sized university in Southern Ontario in completing their final year of schooling. The study’s primary purpose was to determine the degree of curriculum integration training teacher candidates had received during their university career as well as their comfort levels in implementing curriculum integration upon graduation. The study also sought to identify the knowledge base of curriculum integration that these teachers had acquired during their time in university. Convenience sampling was used to select students in their final year of teacher certification. Twenty- five participants from both concurrent and consecutive teacher education programs were recruited and the data were collected solely through face-to-face interviews. General thematic analysis was used to analyze and identify patterns within the qualitative data. The results indicated that many teachers did not have a sufficient knowledge base of curriculum integration upon graduation, and did not appear to be familiar with the various methods of curriculum integration. Finally, the study found that teacher candidates felt uncomfortable integrating curricula in their own classrooms. Results are discussed in terms of teacher training, teaching practice, and further research.