With the following objectives in mind, we set out to plan a day of thinking, learning and reflecting to launch our PYP self study:
- Understand the purpose and requirements of the self study – an appreciative inquiry.
- Ensure clarity of vision for the PYP evaluation – Rather than an exercise in compliance, we will see it as an opportunity to explore how best to bring the standards and practices to life.
- Connect across teams, grades and campuses to share learning.
- Ensure familiarity with the standards and practices (the old ones for now – we will map them against the new in a later step).
- Highlight the major areas of focus in the Enhanced PYP.
- Begin to reflect on how we bring the standards and practices to life.
A quick Kahoot! quiz in teams provided an opportunity to revisit some of the big ideas in the PYP, introduce some facts and figures about the program globally, mention some of the changes with the enhancements… and add an element of fun.
A provocation: How do we live the PYP?
Teachers considered how we LIVE the PYP at our school. Apart from the obvious, responses included factors such as…
- Fluid and flexible units
- Teachers as learners and inquirers
- Reflection is integral to everything
- Agency, choice and voice – for students and teachers
- Curiosity is at the core
- Time is invested in planning and reflecting
- We consider the whole child
- Being open to emergent inquiries
- A natural language that permeates everything
- Inquiry as a stance
- Constant change and growth
- We inquire into our own practice
- Individuality is encouraged- in students and teachers
- We put the learner fist
- Learning is not prescriptive, innovation is encouraged
- We walk the talk
- Open to change and to different perspectives
- Planning is in response to learning
- We value process and document our journey.
An inquiry: How might we continue to bring the beliefs of the PYP to life?
In mixed groups we examined standards C1, 2 and 4, using the traffic light protocol (on first instinct, how would we self assess? – Green= going well, orange = on the way, red= not moving yet) and generated questions for both clarification and innovation.
Reflect: How are we currently doing?
Clarify: What do we need to know?
Innovate: What if…? How might we…?
Next we reflected in more depth on Standard C3, the practices that relate to teaching and learning.
Consider: What might this look like in practice?
Share: How are we doing this?
Document: How will we record our evidence?
Taking this practice as an example, ‘Teaching and learning develops student attitudes and skills that allow for meaningful student action in response to students’ own needs and the needs of others,’ we considered the learner action we have witnessed so far this year:
It was then inspiring to witness teachers of 3 year olds sharing learning with teachers of children up to 12, across campuses, languages and specialist areas. The examples were efficiently recorded and photos and videos uploaded to our dedicated Google site. It felt less like gathering evidence of compliance and more like a celebration of the wonderful learning that takes places in our school.
An analysis of the group and individual reflections from the day reveals common threads and patterns that will guide our inquiries moving forward. The next step might be to align the themes that were revealed with the new standards and practices and explore the notion of ‘motifs’ within them…