A mashup of all things educational! From technology and social media to leadership and international education, this is where I will be reflecting and applying everything thing I learn from the web and my PLN. Join me on the adventure and add your opinion to the mix!

28 July 2011

9 IB PYP: "Yeah, We Do That"



white check mark on blue - acrylic on canvas


Change and reform have been on my mind lately (see previous blog post) and it will probably continue to be a recurring theme here.  As I've been reading articles about change and ed reform lately, something has repeatedly come to my attention.  After reading article after article and post after post listing the things that the US education system needs to include to improve, I find myself saying "Yeah, we do that!" when thinking about the IB PYP curriculum at my school.


Consider this post from @angelamaiers who is well known for her approach to "passion based" education.  She mentions using relevant experiences to build knowledge outside school, allowing student negotiation of the curriculum, and teachers being balanced models for their students as some of the tenets for her approach.  Thinking of the IB PYP framework, I can say "yeah, we do that!"  We use relevant topics, constructivist approaches and negotiate learning experiences with students keeping them at the center of our instructional approaches.  We also believe that all people involved in the learning community are models of the profiles of the program from teachers to students to school staff.

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Or what about this article from @edweek where Anthony Cody mentions, "Great teaching is about provoking curiosity among our students, and then using that innate inquisitiveness to drive learning in a discipline. " He goes on to mention that good teaching also includes "scanning the environment for hooks that we can use to catch student interest."  At the end of his blog post he laments over the fact that the current standardized testing environment makes content learning the focus, instead of these elements of "great teaching" which develop thinking skills in our students.  My response? "Yeah, we do that!"  The IB PYP framework is based on inquiry as the central pedagogical approach for learning and the inquiry process is prompted through provocations to engage students in the topic at their level of understanding.


And finally, this post from Lyn Hilt which highlights the TED talk from Kiran Bir Sethi.  Beyond doubt this is an amazing talk with an even more amazing story and message attached.  Sethi makes it clear in her video, if you want a school community to change you need to infuse learning with purposeful real world learning opportunities where the students are in charge of their learning and how they will share that learning with others.  Well, "Yeah, we do that too!"  Action is one of the essential elements of the IB PYP program and like Sethi suggests in her model Feel-Imagine-Do, the PYP encourages Reflect-Choose-Act.


While I could go on and on with more examples of articles and posts listing the ways in which they are similar to the IB PYP framework, I will instead jump to the point.  Why doesn't the Department of Education consider looking into ways that they could use or adopt the IB framework for the educational reforms that everyone is calling for? The framework has all of the elements that the experts are asking for from social skills and real world learning to values education and personalization.  Couldn't we save a lot of time by starting where the IB PYP has begun rather than come up with various ways to reinvent the wheel yet again?  As I mentioned in another blog post, twitter is one of the best resources for educational reform resources and the #ibpyp hashtag has a number of great educators with blogs that highlight the amazing learning that takes place in this program. There is also a list of IB contacts (including High School and Middle School) from my account of twitter users to follow.


If you are in a IB PYP school, do you often have these same thoughts? Do others believe that the IB PYP framework could be a good starting point for educational reform?  


Jessica :)


Photo Source: kylemac

9 comments:

Liddo said...

Hi Jessica,
I am always saying the same thing. More schools should seriously look at what the IB has to offer. I wonder what it is about it that does stop some schools?
Carl

Douglas Green said...

I like the IB approach better than AP. Too bad more colleges don't accept it. Check my summary of "Academically Adrift" at http://bit.ly/mkwKxq. Keep up the good work. Douglas W. Green, EdD

jessievaz12 said...

@Liddo.... great question! I often wonder that myself! As I mentioned, I feel like the program offers so many of the things that ed reformers are looking for today. The only thing I can think of is that cost can cause some problems in the adoption of the program. Hopefully someone outside the IB PYP sphere can give us an insight into why it is not used in their school...
Jessica

jessievaz12 said...

@Douglas... Yes, I have looked at and used (and been a product of!) the AP system but I feel like it stops short in the skills and collaboration department where the IB excels greatly. I, like you, wish that more colleges would accept the IB Diploma because I find it far more rigorous and complete. What do you think it will take for more colleges and universities to see the value in the IB?

Carl Lidstone said...

@jessievaz12 Yes the money issue was one reason that I thought of also - it is expensive to go through the process. I am doing a paper on leadership at present and all the attributes that are required for leadership are covered within a PYP programme.

Carl Lidstone said...

This comment was left on my G+ feed:
"More schools probably don't because they feel they lose 'control' of their system and have to follow someone else's prescription - fear?"
Possibly something in this but is it missing the point as to what the PYP offers?

Robin G Montgomery said...

I'm very new to IB. Hope to teach at an IB school sometime in the near future. As I investigate the program, I find myself thinking the same thoughts you express in your blog. It makes me very excited to think about teaching in an IB school.

jessievaz12 said...

@Carl... wow good comments all around, no? I think that the point of money is an issue but as for the lack of control, I believe that is a misunderstanding regarding the nature of the PYP and the IB in general. One of the best things about the program is that it is a PHILOSOPHY, a FRAMEWORK, and a CURRICULUM. The curriculum part is flexible... the provide a scope a sequence if you are just starting out but if you already have your own, you just reorganise it into the framework of the program. While it is work to do that, there is no control lost on what is important and valueable to teach for your students. In my humble opinion, it is one of the best thought out and structured programs that still allow flexibility that you will find out there.

jessievaz12 said...

@Robin... I am so happy that you are excited about the PYP and what it has to offer. The real strength of the program in my opinion is how it allows students to be at the center of their learning constructing their knowledge in an inquiry way. The impact that has on the learning of students is definitely amazing especially when a school goes from a more traditional approach to this constructivist model. Anytime you would like more information, just let me know!

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