MYP and DP Approaches to Learning Target setting (new)

These new Approaches to Learning Target Setting documents are for MYP and DP students.

Each document includes a separate page for each Approach to Learning skill (communication, research, self-management, social and thinking).

For each ATL skill, I have chosen eight subsections taken from Principles into Practice for the MYP and the International Baccalaureate’s ATL website for the DP.

Students have to choose one subsection to focus on as a target. They then have to consider strategies that will enable them to meet their target. At the end of the time period (I usually give half a term), students must revisit their targets and write a reflection on the extent to which they feel they have met them.

I have, at times, got students to set one target for each of the Approaches to Learning skills, and at other times, got the class to focus on one agreed Approach to Learning skill to focus on for the half term.

The target setting handouts are cross curricular so can be used for any subject. As Coordinator I used them in my IB Core class.

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ATL Self-Assessment

This Approaches to Learning Self -Assessment document includes all five of approaches: communication, research, self management, social and thinking on one page.

The indicators and assessment criteria  are taken from the IBO Approaches to Teaching and Learning website. 

The document can either be used holistically across the programme or for each individual subject.

It gives students the chance to note when they have met the skills in each indicator, and to what extent,  over an agreed period of time, which can then be discussed with the DP Coordinator and / or subject teacher, depending on how the initiative is set up.

The document can be used by teachers in conjunction with the reporting the Approaches to Learning to help them assess the student`s performance against the approaches to learning.

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Approaches to Learning Target Setting Documents

In order to share the Approaches to Learning goals with students, I have created student Approaches to Learning Target Setting documents, which can be seen below.

These documents are used for students to create targets based on the Approaches to Learning: communication, research, self-management, social and thinking skills. These targets will be applied to all of the subjects the students are studying, as well as the core of the programme.

Students can choose one or more of the sub sections for the approach to learning they are focusing on. Each of the sub sections for the approaches to learning come from the IB`s Approaches to Teaching and Learning website.

In order to make it clear to students that the Approaches to Learning are cross curricular, I go through the handout with students in the DP Core class, checking that their targets are relevant, challenging and achievable and then scan them and send them to every teacher. The teacher can then check their students` progress against the targets, which helps them when reporting on the approaches to learning.

These targets can be approached in a variety of ways:

  • Students can focus on one approach to learning per month / term
  • Students can set targets for more than one approaches to learning at a time.
  • The DP Coordinator can work with the students in setting the targets, which they must then meet throughout all of their classes.
  • Students can work with each subject teacher to set a different target for each class they take.

We revisit the goals in future DP Core classes, discussing each student`s progress and reflect upon any issues they have faced—this can help the DP Coordinator find common issues across the year group.

These document show all of the approaches to learning, which can deleted as appropriate depending on which one(s) you are going to get your students to focus on. The document asks students to consider how they can meet their target and how they can evidence that they have met their target. Example 1 also has a reflection section where students consider what went well, how they could improve and how their performance has changed since setting the target(s).

This document is linked to the IB’s Approaches to Teaching and Learning criteria with targets the students can choose from also taken from the IBO website on the Approaches to Teaching and Learning.

If teachers require, they are able to use this document on a subject for subject basis. I have used it in the capacity of the Coordinator to raise the students’ awareness of the Approaches to Teaching and Learning being cross curricular skills and that they should be using throughout their six subject areas and the Diploma Programme Core.

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Approaches to Teaching and Learning Page Footer

These handouts have got the Approaches to Teaching and Learning and the IB Learner Profile attributes on the footer. Teachers can edit the handout depending on which of them the lesson is covering. Alternatively, the handouts could include each one, and students could be asked to circle the ones they think they have covered at the end of  the lesson.

As a plenary, students could be asked to justify which of the learner profile attributes they think they have met during the class.

The handout helps to raise awareness of the approaches to teaching and learning and the IB learner profile throughout the Diploma Programme.

There is also a document with an example of the page footer being implemented on a Theory of Knowledge lesson handout.

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MYP Approaches to Learning Framework

In the International Baccalaureate’s Middle Years Programme, the Approaches to Learning skills categories of communication, social, research, self-management and thinking are extended into 10 developmentally appropriate clusters, as shown in the International Baccalaureate’s Principles into Practice guide:

Approaches to Learning Skills Approaches to Learning Skills Clusters
Communication I. Communication
Social II. Collaboration
Self-Management III. Organization IV. Affective V. Reflection
Research VI. Information literacy VII. Media literacy
Thinking VIII. Critical thinking IX. Creative thinking X. Transfer

This document below has put the framework into tables which enable teachers to see what is expected for each cluster. Each framework can be used by teachers and departments help them plan activities, and units which allow students to apply the skills needed to become an ‘expert’ in each approach.

A concept-driven curriculum that uses ATL skills effectively enables all students to become stronger, more self-regulated learners.

The framework also gives guidance to teachers on how to assess each ATL, as well as helping students self-assess themselves.

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Research Methods

Research is one of the Approaches to Learning in the MYP and DP. As well as this, it is a big part of investigation criteria in I&S, where students have to choose research methods to show evidence of the information they have found.

The document below contains an example of the following seven research methods designed to help students with their investigation.

  • Mind Maps.
  • Colour Coding.
  • Cornell Notes.
  • Bullet Points.
  • Putting information into your own words.
  • Graphic Organisers.
  • Lists.

While the example of each research method has been created from the same piece of information from this rainforest website, the examples are cross-curricular and can be used to support students in any subject.

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Reporting the Approaches to Learning

I created this document to support staff when reporting their students’ progress in the approaches to learning of communication, research, self-management, social and thinking skills for both the MYP and the DP. In a school I previously worked at we assessed students against the International Baccalaureate’s expectations every half term.

Our report included an explanation of each approach to learning and how the International Baccalaureate judges students against them. Reporting on the students’ progress on reports raises the status of the approaches to learning both with the students and with their parents.

The approaches to learning reports are based on the student`s ability to demonstrate each approach to learning rather than give them an attainment level. The document below is used to support staff as they build up a picture of the students` approaches to learning skills through a range of tasks throughout the term.

The document explains the rationale as to why it is important to report on the approaches to learning.

The document includes a variety of different ways teachers can find evidence of the students` performance in each approach. These can be used to help teachers plan activities throughout the term to help students put each approach to learning into practice.

I have never had the expectation to every one of the strategies is used for each approach, as they may not all fit in with the working being done in each subject every half term. I made it clear to teachers that they should use at least one strategy for each approach to learning each half term.

The document uses information from the Pedagogical Leadership section of the International Baccalaurate’s Approaches to Teaching and Learning website to show how to determine a student level for each approach to learning and includes the International Baccalaureate’s assessment criteria of “below, approaching, meeting or exceeding expectations”.

This reporting document can work in conjunction with the student`s approaches to learning target setting.

Teachers can work with students to set targets at the start of the term which will help guide them when they come to report the students’ progress against the International Baccalaureate’s expectations for each approach.

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Peer and Self-Assessment Forms For All Subjects

In order to support staff in giving students opportunities for assessing their own and their peer`s work, as well as setting achievable targets, I have created a document for staff based on the strategies I use in my Theory of Knowledge classes, which can be found below.

The document includes six peer and self-assessment techniques I use in Theory of Knowledge, for both formative and summative assessments. It also comprises of ideas for teacher feedback on classwork, homework and assessment tasks.

I created the document to support staff across the whole of the programme as these techniques can be modified and applied across all the Diploma Programme subjects. This document is a guide for staff, who are encouraged to share their own ideas with teachers both in their departments and in other subjects.

These documents are based on the Theory of Knowledge essay and presentation but can be edited to meet the rubrics of any lesson.

The four handouts included in the document are:

  1. Essay Self-Assessment: This form is a yes / no checklist and then allows students to comment on how they can make improvements. Each comment is designed to relate directly with the assessment rubric.
  2. Essay peer and self-assessment: This form allows students to comment on peer`s essays against the assessment criteria. The form allows students to write good points and give targets. It also allows the essay owner to comment on the advice they have received. There is a box for the teacher to make comments. The completed handout can be given to both the essay writer and the teacher, with a follow up meeting at a later date to see if the student has followed the targets and advice.
  3. Presentation peer-assessment: This is set out as a checklist where the observer can tick how often the presenter is meeting different parts of the rubric. There is a box for summary comments and the presenter`s response. Again, this form can be used at a later meeting or the next presentation to see if the presenter has followed advice and targets.
  4. Formative Assessment: Teacher and Peer feedback: This form allows both the teacher and peers to give good points and targets based on watching a Theory of Knowledge presentation. There is a box for the presenter to respond to the comments.

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Staff Presentations on ATLs

I have worked with the MYP and Assistant MYP coordinators to introduce ATL training into staff meetings.

Every other week a department gives a presentation on teaching activities they have done which are connected to an agreed approach to teaching or learning. The department can present by way of getting staff to do the activity that students had to do, explain activities and their outcomes, bring examples of student work, discuss research they have done / read on the subject.

After the presentations staff have a discussion in group about the issues that have been raised—the presenting team can create questions for them to discuss. Staff can also create questions based on what they have seen.

The presentations are designed to be cross-programme and cross-curricular, and teachers are purposely put in cross programme and curricular groups as far as possible to give them a wider understanding of the different learning experiences happening across the MYP and DP and within different subject areas. Indeed, after taking up his position as MYP Assistant Coordinator, my college, Aidan Leach took these presentations into MYP meetings with great success.

As DP coordinator I volunteered to present first, focusing on the ATL of Self-Management. Before the meeting I created an overview of the work I had been doing with Year 11s based on homework and peer assessment, which can be seen in the document below.

After presenting, teachers put their resources into a Approaches to Teaching and Learning folder on the DP Library to share good practice.

As well as this initiative, I have used whole staff meetings to go through the new Approaches to Teaching and Learning website.

I have led activities which included examples from mine and other teachers` lessons (that I had observed) and watching videos from the IBO Approaches to Teaching and Learning website, with teachers having pre-read the website`s information on the approach to teaching or learning we were studying and commenting on the video using the IBOs Approaches to Teaching and Learning self-reflection tool. 

Before teachers watched the video they looked at the this tool, which was used as a point of discussion when working in their groups after watching the video.

I have also used staff meetings to give teachers time work work on the other ways we incorporate Approaches to Teaching and Learning at our school through: Teacher Trios, Lesson Observations, Sharing good practice in meetings, ATL Target Setting and Reporting the ATLS.

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Staff Activities

Staff Activities for ATLs

Departmental and whole staff meetings are an excellent time to go through collaborative planning activities to get staff opinions on a wide range of issues.

It is a good idea in whole staff meetings to get staff to work in groups with teachers from a range of subjects and year groups. This allows staff to gain new ideas as well as a greater understanding of the approaches to teaching and learning across the curriculum. By working with teachers from other subjects, teachers will be able to understand the connections between the ATLs across the programme and can work together to compare and contrast how they teach them. This could lead to teachers improving their knowledge and understanding of teaching certain command terms, for example, as shown here.

Once staff are aware of the connections between the ATLs in the subjects, they can highlight it to the students. One way of doing this is through teaching TOK within their subjects, as shown here.

The following are ATL activities that I have used in meetings. Click on the name of each activity to find them within this website.

Further information on using staff meetings for presentations on ATLs can be found above.

Teaching Strategies to support EAL / ESL Students in the Mainstream Classroom

Many classes in both International schools, Private schools and State schools will include students with a range of abilities in the English language. In order to help teachers meet this challenge and differentiate classroom activities, I created the document below to support them in their teaching of English as an Additional Language (EAL) and English as a Second Language (ESL) students in the mainstream classroom.

The teaching strategies in the document are designed to be cross curricular and are able to be transferred across a wide range of subject areas and come from my experiences of teaching the Middle Years Programme and the Diploma Programme in the International Baccalaureate as well as Key Stages 3, 4 and 5 in England.

The document helps teachers in both the planning and delivery of lessons and shows eight different sets of classroom activities used to support EAL and ESL students in the mainstream classroom.

Each set of activities starts with an explanation of the techniques used, explaining how they can help second language learners. The examples shown in this document can be transferred to a wide range of subjects and age groups and are not just for ESL students but as the techniques can also be used to support differentiation for students who require extra support.

I have used this document when I have worked with English Department to lead one of the language workshops highlighting the fact that every teacher is an English teacher.

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Student Language Profile

I work with the English department and students to create a student language profile for each student in the Diploma Programme.

The aim of the profile is to give all teachers an overview of the students` language level and history, as well as build up a picture of the students` use of English and other language outside of school.

The profile focuses on:

  • Year and grade of entering Tamagawa:
  • Year and grade of entering the IB (if different to above):
  • English phase when starting Tamagawa IB:
  • English phase at the end of year 10:
  • CEFR at the end of year 10
  • Final MYP IB and Tamagawa English class and grade:
  • DP language classes and level.
  • Year 10 final Cambridge English Exam
  • External English Language tests and results–type of test, level achieved, year taken.
  • Time spent abroad:
  • Previous education in the English language, overseas or in Japan:
  • Parents/guardians non-Japanese language proficiencies–include language spoken to each parent not including Japanese language.
  • Other languages studied apart from English or Japanese.
  • Language or learning concerns / issues in Japanese.
  • Other personal connections to foreign countries and/or languages.

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Language Learning in the DP

I created this document based on the IBO Publication 'Learning in a language other than mother tongue in IB programmes 2008'.

It summarises the main ideas of the publication, focusing on the philosophical underpinnings of language and learning and what differentiation looks like within the classroom.

I use the document to support staff in differentiating their lessons and resources in order to support students in the classroom whose mother tongue is not English.

The document states, and gives examples of four ways to differentiate for students who are second language English learners: activate prior understanding and build background knowledge, scaffold meaning, extend language and affirm identity.

I hold whole staff DP meetings where I ask teachers to bring examples of each way one, so staff from other subject areas can look at them, ask questions, and build the examples into their lessons. I also get staff to present on how they put each differentiation strategy into place in their subjects.

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