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One way to make modifications in the process of learning is to teach students about the disciplines and then have them assume the role of a disciplinarian. When they “become the expert,” they use the language, tools, thinking skills, and products inherent in that discipline. Assuming the role of a disciplinarian helps students explore the advanced, sophisticated, and complex concepts in the discipline, as well as make connections across disciplines.

Every discipline has a

  • taxonomy (general principles, classification system)
  • methodology (procedures, methods of operating)
  • vocabulary (language specific to the discipline)
  • set of rules or laws
  • set of skills


As a sociologist, describe the details and patterns of the group dynamics and interactions among a group of people. 

As an historian, judge with criteria the ethics affecting the cause-and-effect relationships of the War of 1812.

As an architect, explain how technology influences the trends in design decisions. Analyze how multiple perspectives contribute to these trends.

As a geneticist, defend and argue the big idea that plants and animals have internal structures that support survival, growth, behavior, and reproduction

Watch the video below to learn more about how to engage students in disciplinarian thinking.