What is MYP?
The Middle Years Programme (MYP) is a five-year programme that encourages students to make practical connections between their studies and the real world. The result is young people who are creative, critical and reflective thinkers.
The MYP builds on the knowledge, skills and attitudes developed by the PYP. Students who complete the MYP are well-prepared to undertake the IB Diploma Programme (DP).
The MYP model shows an overview of the various aspects of the programme:
In the programme model for the MYP, the first ring around the student at the centre describes the features of the programme that help students develop disciplinary (and interdisciplinary) understanding.
The second ring describes some important outcomes of the programme.
Inquiry-based learning may result in student-initiated action, which may involve service within the community. The MYP culminates in the personal project (for students in MYP year 5) or the community project (for students in MYP years 3 or 4).
The third ring describes the MYP’s broad and balanced curriculum.
The MYP organizes teaching and learning through eight subject groups:
In many cases, discrete or integrated disciplines may be taught and assessed within a subject group: for example, history or geography within the individuals and societies subject group; biology, chemistry or physics within the sciences subject group.
The distinction between subject groups blurs to indicate the interdisciplinary nature of the MYP. The subject groups are connected through global contexts and key concepts.
The programme has been developed with developmentally appropriate attention to:
What matters is not the absorption and regurgitation either of facts or of predigested interpretations of facts, but the development of powers of the mind or ways of thinking which can be applied to new situations and new presentations of facts as they arise. - (Alec Peterson, first IB Director General 2003: 47)
A concept-driven curriculum encourages idea-centred teaching and learning. The MYP prescribes key concepts (overarching) and related concepts (subject-specific) to better ensure a common basis of conceptual understanding is developed in MYP schools that will provide students with a sound foundation for future learning.
According to Erickson (2008), concepts range from macro to micro in terms of scope, but all concepts meet the following criteria.
Concepts are used at different levels of generality and complexity, serving different purposes in teaching and learning. Erickson (2007: 72–78) describes a concept-based curriculum as “three-dimensional”, focusing on concepts, facts and skills rather than the traditional “two-dimensional” curriculum that considers only facts and skills.
MYP programme design uses two kinds of concepts.
Key concepts, contributed from each subject group, provide interdisciplinary breadth to the programme. Key concepts are broad, organizing, powerful ideas that have relevance within and across subjects and disciplines, providing connections that can transfer across time and culture.
Related concepts, grounded in specific disciplines, explore key concepts in greater detail, providing depth to the programme. They emerge from reflection on the nature of specific subjects and disciplines, providing a focus for inquiry into subject-specific content.
The heart of contextual teaching and learning is the connection that leads to meaning. When young people can connect the content of an academic subject … with their own experience, they discover meaning, and meaning gives them a reason for learning. Connecting learning to one’s life makes studies come alive. (Johnson 2002)
Teaching and learning in the MYP involves understanding concepts in context. All learning is contextual. A learning context is a specific setting, event or set of circumstances, designed or chosen, to stimulate learning.
Concepts are powerful abstract ideas that have universal application, but the meaning of concepts can change as people experience and interpret them in different contexts. Contexts offer the possibility of new perspectives, additional information, counter-examples and refinements of understanding.
In the MYP, learning contexts should be (or should model) authentic world settings, events and circumstances. Contexts for learning in the MYP are chosen from global contexts to encourage international-mindedness and global engagement within the programme.
Through ATL in IB programmes, students develop skills that have relevance across the curriculum that help them “learn how to learn”. ATL skills can be learned and taught, improved with practice and developed incrementally. They provide a solid foundation for learning independently and with others. ATL skills help students prepare for, and demonstrate learning through, meaningful assessment.
In summary the learning in an MYP classroom shows the following:
MYP students start with a statement of inquiry and develop concepts in global contexts.
Each unit in MYP has one key concept and one or more related concepts.
Teachers and students develop a statement of inquiry using the key concept and related concepts which are then used to formulate inquiry questions.
There are three types of inquiry questions factual, conceptual and debatable that helps unpack and explore the statement of inquiry.
Through their inquiry, students develop specific interdisciplinary (ID) and disciplinary approaches to learning skills (ATLs).