PYP: First Thoughts

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August 23, 2011 by k. liz

So, I’ve only been at my school for less than two weeks so far, and everything has been done in Turkish! (Which, by the way, I am semi-conversant in, but by no means anywhere near fluent in!!)

That being said, my understanding of what is going on, may in reality be different than what actually is going on. However, I thought I’d post a little about PYP from what I am understanding thus far. In a quick google search, I was kind of surprised to not see more information on PYP. I’m sure that it is out there, and if you know any good blogs or resources, PLEASE leave them in the comments below. However, I thought that what came up in my search was surprisingly small.

No worries, I still have thoughts on it! Last week we spent about a day and a half with our PYP coordinator (and thankfully there are a few other English-speakers, so we were able to work together and get a general idea of what was going on.) I must say that from the outset, I’m pretty excited about PYP. For those of you who have never heard of PYP (as I had been a few weeks back) it stands for Primary Years Programme and is a system of education that is used in many countries, but I believe that it originated in England and is part of the International Baccalaureate program.

I’m excited about PYP because it first struck me as a form of dogme, more structured. Which, I had been interested in dogme when I first started reading about it last spring, but always felt that it was lacking the structure that I crave, so always felt a little uneasy with it. Well, I think I found my answer. PYP takes a topic, or unit, and creates tasks to find out what the students already know, what they want to know, and how they would like to learn it. The units then continue with students doing many different types of activities such as internet research, posters, speeches, etc. about the topic. Finally, the units finish up with an assessment, but one that the students agree on as well as work together to create a rubric for. PYP is very concerned with making thinkers out of students, and getting them to ask questions and then connect the information that they get with their real life.

I’m excited for the chance to use this structure in the classroom, and hope that it will lead to some really exciting discoveries and some great leaps for my students this year. I’d love to hear from any of you who have already taught in a PYP system, or know more about it than I do. Please leave any links, comments, suggestions, or questions below (I promise I will look up the answer if I don’t know it!!)

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