Areas of Interaction Q and A

We had several questions arising from the Areas of Interaction session. We have posted our responses below, so all parents can access the information.

How transferable is the MYP to other non-IB schools?

The skills and knowledge developed through the Middle Years Program are designed to create life-long learners. Through the program, students are able to become responsible, independent and reflective thinkers. So students who work in this program are able to transfer these skills to different programs in schools.

How will they be graded each year? How will this effect the above grade levels?

YIS uses assessment-based criteria to assign levels of achievement. Each subject has different criteria. These criteria are in the students’ portfolios, so both parents and students can know what they are being assessed on. The International Baccalaureate outline criteria to be used in Year 5 of the program (we will use them in Grades 9 and 10), and the school is required to modify these for Grades 6 – 8.

How many years will it take to implement the MYP?

The school has begun the program this year in Grade 6. We will increase it by one year level each year. The school will be fully MYP in 2014.

What is the reputation of the MYP outside the school? What are the strong points of the program?

The MYP is very well regarded and implemented in schools around the world. 847 schools in 80 countries currently run the program. The highlights of the program are its emphasis on inquiry-based learning, criteria-based assessed and providing real life contexts for the content, knowledge and skills being delivered. Interdisciplinary units, where learning is connected between subjects, is an essential element in the MYP. Teachers work together to plan units so students see that knowledge is inter-related, and can transfer the knowledge to different areas outside the classroom.

What is the MYP’s approach to homework?

Schools implement their own policy regarding homework. There is no mandate from the IB in regards to homework.

Are there tests? Are they practising maths, reading and writing?

The MYP is a framework. As it is an international framework, the development of curriculum is up to the school. YIS does have tests, exams and offers a rigorous academic program to ensure students have effective preparation for the IB Diploma Program. The integrity of each subject is maintained, and the necessary skills and knowledge for each subject area is covered.

What quality controls / peer review processes are in place to ensure teachers are consistently delivering what they are supposed to be delivering?

YIS has a strong appraisal process to provide teachers with the opportunity to develop their skills and widen their teaching repertoire. Teachers go through a two-year program with peer reviews, supervisors and evaluators to provide feedback.

How to best teach children analytical skills outside of the usual “Go and google something”

How do we ensure topical issues such as ‘global warming / climate change’ are not brainwashed on children?

One of the aims of the MYP is to create critical and reflective thinkers. Whilst content and information is delivered through the different subject areas, teachers also work on developing student’s independent thinking and ability to support and substantiate their point of view – at all grade levels. Different values and attitudes are explored in classrooms, and different perspectives are offered to encourage students to develop tolerance, understanding and respect

Our child is doing EAL, and has no Lang. B in 6th grade. After leaving YIS for another country, Japanese is no longer given at school, how does my child learn Lang B?

To complete the Middle Years Program, there is no set years of study in one particular language. If Japanese is not offered at your child’s next school, they are able to enter another Language B class.  At the diploma level, students can choose to continue with the language they have studied, or choose a language to study at a foundation, level.

How to learn to improve efficiency for homework?

There are a variety of strategies that can be used to improve efficiency. We will be having an Organisational Skills session on Wednesday, November 17th to discuss strategies to help improve organization and efficiency. The notes from this meeting will be posted on the blog for all parents to access.

Why do they use i-pod / i-touch and listen to music during English or Maths?

Some students work very well when listening to music. It helps to keep them focused. It is not often they are able to use i-pods or the like in class, but there are some occasions which teachers allow this to help students focus on an extended task. It does minimize distractions in the classroom. I-pods and i-touches are used in some classes for the useful features they have like the calculator function.