Is departmental structure for the kids or for the adults?

Departmentalized school structure is increasingly interesting to me. During my teaching career, I have taught in a math department, a history department, and an economics sub-department. My placement in these departments was based on my own passions and “expertise” for certain subject matter.

I wonder what school would look like if we based the structure on the interests and passions of the student learners? Even for just part of the day. Oh, that might look more like clubs and athletics.

In my past two years of my teaching career, I considered myself inter-departmental because of the nature of the Synergy course that I co-facilitated. Depending on the project pursuits of the students, we could be considered a math department on some days, an English department on other days, a science department on many days, a sociology department on most days,…. And because we had multiple groups, we were all of those departments, and more, on every day.

Those most recent two years felt the most like school designed for the students’ interests, instead of just designed for my interests.