Beyond ourselves…

For the past couple of years, our culminating PYP expedition (exhibition) has centred around passions. This year, with Studio Time or iTime already embedded, and learners exploring, not just their their passions and interests, but also how they might develop as learners and individuals through the process, it’s time to move beyond ourselves.

We start today’s team meeting with the first few minutes of the film 30,000 days and discuss what it makes us think and feel. Responses refer to the meaning of life, a sense of urgency, excitement and empowerment without guilt, a desire to take action and a feeling of hope.

Next, we consider what each of us does to contribute beyond ourselves. We break this down into contributions within the school community, the broader community and then globally, and the answers are both diverse and thoughtful.

  • A sense of fun and silliness.
  • Care for the wellbeing of others.
  • Being a team player.
  • Supporting students and teachers.
  • Greeting people, not just walking by.
  • Showing appreciation to service workers.
  • Being kind to others.
  • Writing to challenge and entertain.
  • Volunteering with Pyjama Angels.
  • Advocating for mental health.
  • Reusing and recycling.
  • Connecting with children in less advantaged settings in India.
  • Educating future leaders.
  • Organising cultural events and fund raisers.
  • Donating to causes that matter.
  • Supporting a school in Africa.

We think this could be a powerful reflective question with which the children might engage, in relation to themselves, their families and other people they know.

With the trans-disciplinary theme of Sharing the Planet as a prompt, we brainstorm issues beyond ourselves and organise them, using the concentric circles of school, local and global communities.

It’s quickly apparent that the issues we raise connect to the Sustainable Development Goals, which will be one of the springboards for students to dive into their explorations and possibilities for action.

The children’s version of this brainstorm might look different, but the concentric circles always provide a valuable lens for seeing how ideas can transfer both inward and outward. What if we asked kids to come up with their own broad categories of goals, relevant both at school and beyond? What if we asked them to anticipate which might be achievable by 2020 or 2030? What if they began to imagine their own solutions?

Prior concerns about how to make this inquiry relevant, and ensure it is neither shallow nor too removed from the children’s reality, are laid to rest. The ‘split screen’ potential is evident! It’s an opportunity for our students to develop, not just as learners and inquirers, but as thoughtful, caring human beings, ready to take the first steps towards making their world a better place.

As educators, we are well placed to approach this as an inquiry for ourselves, as well as for our learners. (The provocation has been a success.)

It’s an opportunity for students and teachers alike to move beyond ourselves

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