MYP, Approaches to learning and remote learning

Contribution by Ms. Minke Veeneklaas – Deputy Head / MYP coordinator

Having to switch to a remote online learning environment has had a great impact on all of us, teachers, students and parents. Worldwide educators recognize the challenge faced by Covid’19 for both teachers and students to teach and learn online.

The MYP programme has shown its strength in these times. The strong focus on the IB learner as a whole, inquiry-based learning and Approaches to learning have supported us in quickly adapting to remote learning. Now in the second period of remote learning we are using the MYP Approaches to learning framework to further support the students.

MYP Approaches to learning Framework

The approaches to learning (ATL Skills) are a set of essential skills taught across all subjects in the IB. The MYP identifies the following ATL categories, which are practiced in all MYP subjects in a way that is relevant.

  • communication
  • self-management
  • thinking
  • social
  • research

Staff study day: 
To strengthen this approach, the staff study day in January focused on how we can use the approaches to learning, in particular Self-management and Communication in our lessons. The day was launched by watching a session from the Virtual IB conference November 2020 by Lance King, an expert on Approaches to Learning. Following this, teachers worked in groups on identifying and developing approaches to learning strategies and lesson plans for the remote learning period. 
ATL’s in the lessons:

In subject and mentor lessons the teaching and learning of these skills will be a re-occurring theme. Examples of this are:  groupwork to encourage collaboration and communication between students, lessons where students need to make an action plan or are provided a structure for the planning of independent work;  making priority lists and in mentor hour thinking activities to find the balance between schoolwork and relaxation.  Another example is the poster with tips for remote learning which has been discussed in the mentor hour. 
In the next weeks we will continue to re-iterate the importance of self-management and communication skills. In February we will focus on research skills such as finding online resources and how to reference. Students will be given an extra session on this, after which it can be applied in school. 

The focus currently is to support students during remote learning however the approaches to learning prepare students with skills needed for life-long learning, for when they are in back in school and thereafter. 

As Lance King says in his “ Lessons Learned from Covid’19: 
“When this pandemic is behind us and children are back at school, the biggest change in their schooling needs to be a major reorientation towards the self-management of learning as a prioritised goal. We need to shift the focus of school-based learning from teacher as ‘all knowing expert’ to teacher as ‘designer of engaging, remote-learning opportunities’ that can be completed either in a classroom setting or remotely.” King, April 2020

Of course, we hope that we can have the students back in the building as soon as possible as we miss their liveliness and joyful noises.