Posted on July 19, 2018 | by Vinod Kakumanu
In the course of establishing, managing and improving schools throughout the country, School Serv has dealt with all aspects of learning to make sure institutions achieve optimum learning outcomes. Selection of appropriate curriculum and its implementation has always been our top priority. Our research wing also keeps a tab on developments and studies the features of curriculums to enable school promoters choose the best according to their context.
With the advent of IB in India, school promoters who wanted to try different curriculums have found a way. In our role as curriculum implementation consultants, we have found out that before deciding on IB sometimes the groundwork of understanding and appreciating the course had not been done by school management, as a result, series of surprises were encountered. There are some very distinct features of IB curriculum which are important for school promoters to understand before opting IB as the curriculum of their school. In this article we have tried to provide a practical understanding of IB PYP curriculum as it remains the area wherefrom most of the queries arrive.
The primary year’s programme (PYP) of International Baccalaureate® is for children aged between 3 and 12. This implies that the inception of PYP happens in Kindergarten and it goes on till grade 5 making way for the Middle Year Programme (MYP).
The PYP programme is self-contained, which means that its significance will not get diminished even if it is not followed by the next level of IB i.e. MYP and DP. That actually applies to all these IB programmes and they are all independently pursued in many schools, yet, a continuum is recommended by IB and if a school could run successive programmes, it would make an ideal scenario.
It has to be said that IB PYP has a complex curriculum model which has several aspects constituting it. Once the staff adapts to it, IB PYP curriculum starts to show its rewards in the form of student engagement and parental satisfaction. Incorporated into ‘hexagonal model’, the IB PYP curriculum design and objectives are laid down for teachers to understand.
It is mentionable that like all other curriculums, the IB primary years that continue for 9 years of a student’s life will also cover subjects including Mathematics, Science, Language, Social Studies and Arts. The features that distinguish IB from other curriculums obtain from the fact that it is derived from a ‘framework’. The said framework is made up of overarching transdisciplinary themes including ‘who we are’, ‘where we are in place and time’, ‘how we express ourselves’, ‘how we organize ourselves’, ‘how the world works’ and ‘sharing the planet’. These themes underlay the content covered in the syllabus and make the pedagogical style international in perspective and transdisciplinary, meaning that while learning the concepts of a given subject or discipline the students also get introduced to concepts or themes which fall in the purview of other subjects.
Besides the themes, the curriculum is composed of three interlinked components including ‘written’, ‘taught’ and ‘assessed curriculum’. The components of the PYP curriculum confirm the commitment to increased involvement of the learner in the learning process. The significance of the components is as follows—
The synergy between these three components brings out and effective IB PYP curriculum consummate in every respect. Furthermore, IB has a ‘learner profile’ in place which enlists the values and qualities that the student is expected to develop while he courses his way through the curriculum. IB expects the learner profile to be consolidated in the personality of the student, The profile signifies the attributes of a cosmopolitan or internationally-minded person. In fact, the learner profile is the core of the IB PYP curriculum.
IB curriculum is informed by the constructivist philosophy of education. When children are believed to be ‘constructors’ of knowledge their interaction in the classroom increases, they are given time to meditate about their learning and how they are learning, physical mobility and furniture configuration of the classroom does not remain conventional but becomes markedly different.
The curriculum throughout the primary years will drive the students towards the development and achievement of five essential elements including –
The IB curriculum enforcement is aided by IBO through workshops and material for the trainee teachers. Our International School Consultants have successfully designed, implemented the IB PYP curriculum and trained the teachers to practice and sustain it.