Think Like a Disciplinarian

Encourage Expert Thinking!

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 a 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