Learning at its best…

I blogged last week about our coming Year 6 PYP exhibition, a culmination of learning throughout the primary school years. The central idea of the unit is: Social inequities create  a need for action in the world.

Max, Gigi and Casey, whom I am mentoring, have chosen to explore access to education in developing countries, focusing on India.  My role is to support them in the inquiry process, encourage and guide them, help them find resources and take the pressure off the class teacher a bit! We meet a couple of times a week to discuss their findings and clarify further direction.

Today they gathered some interesting new information from primary sources. The first Skype conversation was with Clive , an engineer turned teacher, who’s volunteering in Sri Lanka teaching teachers to use computers. He told the kids about his work and that of the organisation he works under, and was able to make comparisons with India as he volunteered there too.

Later in the day they spoke to Raj, in India. He was happy to answer their questions comparing city education to that in villages, as well as gender related issues. When Raj explained that in many cases it’s more important for families to get their daughters married off than for them to be educated, Casey voiced aloud her wondering : ‘Why is there pressure for women to marry and have families, when there are so many people in India already?’!

Flat classroom

I am really excited by the ways education has changed over the years! (especially since we became a PYP school) I am excited about the fact that primary school children are developing global awareness and a social conscience.  I am excited about the fact that learning today (in my school, at least)  is relevant, challenging and engaging. I’m excited about breaking down classroom walls and the incredible learning that can take place through global interactions,  so easily via Skype. And I’m excited about the power of the internet to make meaningful connections between people who otherwise would never have met!

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6 thoughts on “Learning at its best…

  1. Hi Edna,

    As so often, I can only agree with you. Working in a PYP school is so different! And so fun, rewarding and challenging! And that is only through the eyes of the teacher. I feel the students often think the same.
    Your example shows so well a global awareness of students in the PYP, that others don’t even have at university level. The exhibition is exciting, I hope I can assist with it this year (around May)…

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  2. You and the commentator above seem to love “PYP schools.” However, I have never heard of them before? What are they? What are the benefits that everyone seems to think so highly of?

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  3. It’s the primary years program of the International Baccalaureate. It involves concept based inquiry learning. Check out ibo.org for more information. Read any of my posts tagged PYP for first hand information too.

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  4. I love this post and I totally I agree. Exciting is the key work. This is the sort of stuff that gets me excited, It makes me feel like I’m really helping my students learn something worthwhile and the kids love it.

    I think my students are really developing a global awareness – I am trying to work on the social conscious. This is so important. You are doing a great job of that!

    I’m not at a PYP school but if that’s the way everyone teaches there it sounds like a place I would like to be!

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  5. Thank you Edna for your reaffirming post.
    Any inquiry can seem so hollow, unless we can develop global awareness and a social conscience within it. An inquiry which does this is nourishing – providing opportunities for application in the real world. It is also sustainable, dealing with the things that really do matter in our world.
    For teachers assessing an inquiry unit, or in the process of designing an inquiry unit, it is helpful to ask this: ‘how can this unit develop global awareness and a social consciousness?’
    Inquiry teachers out there: does YOUR unit address this? Or is your inquiry unit going nowhere special, like the old ‘pirates’ or ‘dinosaurs’ term topics?

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  6. What an awesome story of learning! Every child should be so blessed as to have learning experiences just like that one. What you are doing for you school and for education is important. Keep at it!

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