The International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme (PYP) for prekindergarten through fifth grade, Middle Years Programme (MYP) for sixth through tenth grade, and Diploma Programme (DP) for eleventh and twelfth grades are arguably among the best, if not the best, educational programs available today. If you want school improvement, consider implementing one or more of the three IB programmes.
The PYP and MYP are transdisciplinary and inquiry-based, which is what distinguishes them significantly from other programs. When schools deliver high quality PYP and MYP programmes, they look dramatically different than typical schools. Students are actively engaged in learning rather than sitting passively at their desks. They are excited and eager to learn. They love school. Teachers are equally thrilled. They love working together collaboratively to plan and teach the curriculum, rather than planning and teaching in isolation. They share resources, come up with extremely creative ideas and projects, help each other out, solve problems and feel ownership of the school.
Imagine your students learning in an environment where teachers are working together enthusiastically and collaboratively across disciplines so that students are studying, for example, the history, art, music, dance, science, math, sports and political systems of the ancient Greeks at the same time. Imagine students and teachers working together to turn your school into a virtual ancient Greek city with students’ art, music, science experiments, math problems, Olympic games, etc. Imagine project-based teaching and learning taking place all over the school. You hear a buzz in the community. People are talking about the fabulous projects, great teachers and amazing kids.
Students are learning a second language and loving it. Some are beginning to speak and understand as though it was their native tongue! People are amazed. They can’t believe that children can learn a second language so well.
Students’ challenging behaviors, that used to consume so much energy, hardly exist anymore. Kids who were marginally or not at all interested in learning are showing a whole different side of themselves.
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They’re actually smiling and happy, excited about their projects, and doing their work! Some are even becoming leaders.
Teachers are starting to think out of the box, together. Collaborative, out-of-the-box thinking is producing some fascinating results. For the unit of study on peace and conflict, teachers are inviting generals, peace activists and mediators to share their expertise and views with their students. Lively discussions about war and peace are taking place in classrooms, hallways and dining rooms.