As part of our school’s commitment to create a community of lifelong learners, we held two induction sessions, for parents new to the IB programme and for teachers new to our school and to the IB programme as well.
During the session with parents, we discussed the pace of change in the 21st century and the challenges our children have to face. The first/morning session was for pre-elementary parents. Mr. Dylan Braithwaite, one of the expat teachers in the pre-elementary unit, with a strong background in play-based learning, shared how the IB programme is implemented in the pre-elementary. He explained that Inquiry in the early years is framed within three basic principles:
- Curiosity comes first. Curiosity comes naturally to young learners and should be encouraged and supported through learning daily experiences.
- Embrace the mess. Embracing the mess here means that early-years learning happens in various ways of exploration, trying things out, making sense of how things work out or not, observing what’s around them and so on. This learning doesn’t come in a neat and clean environment, instead students need to have more opportunities to ‘play’ it out.
- Practice reflections. Practicing reflection means making reflection a regular part of learning to make sure we can make the connections within ourselves, with peers and with the world.
The next session was set up to give the participants ‘real’ learning experiences. We started with a test, the kind of test we did when we were young. Everyone was familiar with the ‘test’ and knew that it would only require the correct answers of factual information they could memorize.
An interesting thing happened in the next stage of the session, when these parents were asked to come up with their ideas of what a good learner looks like. At this stage, a new learning experience was obvious as this task required a whole set of thinking and communication skills. The participants started to show creativity, to show courage in expressing individual thoughts/opinions in the form of a diagram/picture and communicating ideas with others.
One of the questions coming from parents was about how to access all these IB terms and words, and how they can use them at home. The link here provides all the 5 Essential Elements used on a daily basis with brief explanation for each and suggestions on how parents may use it to have conversations with their children at home: https://goo.gl/fplPM6
To summarize the session, the parents felt really positive about the IB programme and how Sekolah Ciputra has implemented it in day-to-day teaching and learning. They realized that it is important for us to keep a strong partnership between home and school so that the students can benefit from it.
The other induction session was for the new teachers. Having had the opportunities to immerse themselves in the day-to-day planning, teaching and assessing, these new teachers were ready with the new learning and brought questions they wanted answered and issues they wanted to clarify and understand better.
A good practice in an inquiry approach is to start with prior knowledge, which basically means that the learners try to make connections with what they already know.
We used blob figures as one media of choice for a reflection. These blob figures are really helpful for any reflection purposes, each with its own action so the learner can choose which blob represents his/her reflection.
The main discussion throughout the sessions is based on this PYP Curriculum model:
This model summarizes what the IB PYP curriculum is and how it underpins planning, teaching and assessing for teachers.
Our school is committed to professional development of all staff. We will have in-school IB PYP workshops on January 20th – 21st, 2017 to further develop our understanding of concept-based teaching and learning, inquiry and assessment approaches.