This weekend there developed an interesting conversation on Twitter about the merits and drawbacks of planning using Topics. Several of those involved agreed to write blogs outlining and expanding their views on the subject. This is my contribution.
Topic planning has been popular in primary schools since the early 1970s. Its proponents maintain it can create coherent study links across different subject areas. And there is no doubt, in the hands of an experienced teacher, planning methodically and systematically, it can be used to plan engaging and relevant activities for cross-curricular learning.
However, as an approach, it does have some significant drawbacks that can make it difficult to use well and sometimes result, when used badly, in ineffective learning experiences for students.