Theme-Based Teaching and Interdisciplinary Learning: A Case Study at Amsterdam University College, the Netherlands

  • Marco de WaardEmail author
Part of the Education Innovation Series book series (EDIN)


This chapter discusses a practising educator’s experience with the theme-based model for interdisciplinary education that underpins the curriculum at Amsterdam University College (AUC), a liberal arts and sciences undergraduate college in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Drawing on the author’s contribution to the “Cities and Cultures” themed programme at this college – one of the six themed programmes which it currently runs – its concern is with how theme-based teaching may enable students’ interdisciplinary learning. More specifically, the chapter aims to show how students’ interdisciplinary skills can be honed through a critical and participatory pedagogy that promotes cross-disciplinary dialogue and interaction as well as reflective awareness of disciplinary boundaries and predilections. A programme built around a larger theme functions as a productive setting for such an approach, or so this chapter argues, to the extent that it enables “conversations” between disciplines – theoretically, methodologically, and conceptually – in which students’ various disciplinary interests and identifications are simultaneously recognized and challenged.


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© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Amsterdam University College (AUC) and Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis (ASCA)AmsterdamThe Netherlands

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