From PYP to MYP: How Approaches to Learning help with this transition
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From PYP to MYP: How Approaches to Learning help with this transition

Being an international IB continuum school allows students to transition easily between the Primary Years, Middle Years and Diploma Programme. The grade 5 to grade 6 transition, from primary to secondary, is often seen by students and parents as a huge step. However, the skills and knowledge our students gain throughout the PYP set them up to succeed in the Middle Years Programme.

By Liam Moody, Leader of Middle Years

PYP students develop knowledge, conceptual understanding and skills while exploring six curricular areas through six transdisciplinary themes (see below). Learning is achieved through exploiting the connections between subjects in order to enhance learning transfer. The Primary Years Programme is designed to provoke and support student led action and culminates in the PYP exhibition. The exhibition also has strong links to the Approaches to Learning (ATL) skills which are worked on continuously throughout all the IB programmes.

Connections between the PYP and MYP

PYP students are guided to explore six transdisciplinary themes of global significance that offer students the opportunity to explore the commonalities of human experience. They are described as transdisciplinary, because they focus on issues that transfer across subject areas. MYP students connect their learning with their life and the world through global contexts, which can be real world problems, events and circumstances. The MYP identifies six global contexts for teaching and learning that extend from the PYP’s transdisciplinary themes.

Six transdisciplinary themes for PYPSix Global Contexts for MYP
Who we areIdentities and relationships
Where we are in place and timeOrientation in space and time
How we express ourselvesPersonal and cultural expression
How the world worksScientific and technical innovation
How we organize ourselvesGlobalization and sustainability
Sharing the planetFairness and development

Approaches to Learning in PYP

The PYP Approaches to learning (ATL) are five sets of interrelated skills, designed to support transfer of learning between curricular areas. These are thinking skills, research skills, communication skills, social skills and self-management skills, with associated sub-skills. Please see below the beautifully illustrated ATL’s by grade 3. Teachers work with children to help with the acquisition and application of these skills, using them purposefully to support goal setting. The ATL skills are extensively worked on and highlighted during the PYP Exhibition. By continuously working on these skills we can set up students to transition naturally to the MYP.

Middle Years Progamme

MYP students continue to develop their knowledge, concepts and skills by studying eight subject areas through the six global contexts (see above). Each subject is taught through their concepts and related concepts with links to the global contexts. Each subject area needs to assess their criteria 2 times a year (Criteria A,B,C,D).  Each year level is also involved in at least one interdisciplinary project every academic year to enhance their learning. A blended approach in a unit or assessment creates new knowledge, perspectives and connections. Throughout the MYP students are involved with service as action. Just as the PYP culminates in the Exhibition, the MYP doest that in Personal Project. Students in grade 10 also take part in the IB eAssessments.

Further developing ATL skills in the MYP

The focus of ATL in the MYP is on helping students to develop the self-knowledge and skills they need to enjoy a lifetime of learning. ATL skills empower students to succeed in meeting the challenging objectives of the MYP subject groups and they also prepare students for further success in the rigorous DP programme. These ATL skills are transferable across their courses and into our students’ personal lives. They are worked on during each unit, throughout all 5 years of the MYP. The Personal Project in grade 10 provides students with the opportunity to showcase these skills before they take the next step to the Diploma programme. Just like the PYP has the Exhibition and the MYP the Personal Project, the DP has the Extended Essay.

The IB Learner Profiles

Finally, students as well as staff and parents are encouraged to recognise and support the learner profile attributes with everyone in our community. They are promoted and talked about through all three programmes. By allowing students to follow these attributes we can set them up to be internationally minded lifelong learners.

Credit to: Make the PYP to MYP Transition by Alison Yang