BLOGS  >  MAY 4, 2021

Kickstart Your PYP Journey

BY MAGGIE HOS-MCGRANE


Many years ago, I was a new PYP coordinator and was wondering how to support my school in its journey as a candidate school towards authorisation. There seemed to be so much to learn and so much that needed to be unlearned as well!

A lot of what I did in those days regarding professional learning for my teachers was simply trial and error. At staff meetings I would introduce something, and then over the coming weeks I’d observe to see what impact this was having. Now, with many years of wisdom, I felt it was time to share this knowledge with others.

As I thought about creating a resource, I asked myself what I found most useful at the start of my own PYP journey, and then I set about creating this. I also reached out to others around the world who generously shared their own experiences. The result is Kickstarting the PYP, a resource that will help new PYP coordinators and new candidate schools to better understand some of the basics of the PYP.

I decided to start with the learner profile and international-mindedness that is at the heart of all the IB programmes. Many teachers have asked me about how to develop the attributes of the learner profile – in particular if their school is in a community where not all of these are highly valued. With questions like this I always recommend children’s literature. Stories can be a great way of naturally and safely discussing these attributes with students, but there are so many books out there and how do we know which are the best ones to choose?

One of my first steps in creating this resource was to curate a set of books for each learner profile attribute. This is often the best way to bring the learner profile to life. I tried to ensure that the books reflected all different sorts of children and animals, and that the stories were set in various places around the world. Where possible, I also looked for authors from different countries, and in fact some of the books recommended are translations from their original language or are adaptations of traditional stories.

When I give workshops, I notice that teachers new to the PYP are keen to have examples of what other, more established, schools are doing. I therefore followed the first resource with a look at examples from schools around the world who had shared their experiences on the Sharing PYP blog.

The resource is based on sections from the digital resource PYP: From Principles into Practice, followed by five to eight examples of how this is implemented in diverse classrooms in PYP schools around the world. We can all learn so much from what our colleagues around the world are sharing! Along with this, I have added a set of weblinks to professional online resources ranging from videos, TED talks, articles, and blog posts that may be useful provocations for staff meetings.

Many new PYP coordinators are responsible for leading professional development at their faculty meetings. Because of this, I thought a really useful resource would be a set of hour-long activities that would introduce teachers to some of the basic elements of the PYP. Many of these I have used myself in workshops or in-school training sessions. These resources are developed around conceptual understandings and lines of inquiry and contain activities and resources to take a deep dive into a number of important PYP areas such as inclusion, agency, and action.  

Finally, I wanted to actually share the voices of PYP coordinators from around the world. I did a series of video calls where I focused on common questions about the approaches to learning and how developing these skills will help students throughout their education and in the world beyond school. There is much we can learn from each other here.

A wealth of experience from PYP educators around the world has gone into the creation of this resource. We sincerely hope it is useful to you as you embark on your PYP journey.

Kickstarting the PYP is available now on Titlewave®.

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