The International Baccalaureate Primary Years Program (IB PYP), for children of ages 3 yrs to 12 yrs old, is headquartered at Geneva, Switzerland. There are more than 4000 IB schools across 139 countries of the world, including 122 of the most elite schools in India. (See www.ibo.org) The IB PYP emphasises on the development of the following ten attributes in children: Caring, Inquirer, Knowledgeable, Thinker, Communicator, Principled, Open-minded, Risk-taker, Balanced, Reflective (see the two videos on this page)
Unlike traditional teacher-centered classrooms where teacher’s knowledge, fixed textbook content and limited digital media content are imposed upon children, which they cram; in the IB PYP child-centered classrooms, the teacher facilitates the children to go beyond the textbooks, digital content, be intellectually independent and pursue their natural curiosities and desires to inquire, explore and discover. IB PYP is not an information imparting curriculum where students learn facts and information and pour it out during an exam. Information or knowledge keeps changing and is easily available through the internet. Rather the IB PYP is a curriculum where children learn to inquire, collaborate, discover and make meaning of the real world around them – skills that are far more important in life. Some even say, the IB PYP is a revival of our age old Guru Shishya classrooms.
Teachers from around the world, especially in international schools with international programs like IB & CIE have about 25 students per classroom up to Grade 5. There is overwhelming evidence that following benefits exist:
Today’s parents realize that we need to give 21st century learning skills to our children. Learning in primary school is the foundation for life long learning. Thus there is a desire among most parents to move away from rote/parrot learning. In a PYP classroom, the teacher is a facilitator who encourages students to think for themselves, inquire, observe, investigate and come to a conclusion. Such a learning journey is more meaningful because students are responsible for their own learning and also develop the learner profile traits of becoming true world citizens, though very rooted in Indian culture and ethos.
A curriculum that fosters creativity, joy in learning, and skills for life.
In The Modern School the children do not compete with others; instead they compete with themselves, which is why we do not have a rank system. The teacher gauges the potential of each child and gives individual tasks to enable every child to move towards achieving his potential. Thus in our school we have differentiated learning.
Assessment is designed to assess skills, and conceptual understanding and not just memory. We, at The Modern School, employ numerous assessment strategies, including self assessment, using different tools and mediums to cater to the individual child’s capabilities and achievements. Assessment is an inherent part of the learning process, thereby making it completely stress-free and enjoyable for children.
The PYP method of teaching and learning is concept driven and not content driven, thus understanding of concepts will be clear and will lay a very strong foundation for higher learning in middle and senior school. Also since students are facilitated to become independent inquirers and self learners, and are groomed to face any kind of challenge.
Technology in the classroom, like laptops, white boards, projectors, etc., is an important tool in teaching and learning in the 21st century classrooms, where the pedagogy is student centered and inquiry driven, and the teacher facilitates children to become self learners.
Indian teacher are certified teachers and have a mastery over their subject area. But teaching learning practices are very traditional and do not enhance skill development in students. The Modern School’s ongoing teacher training program, as well as training conducted and authorised by the International Baccalaureate Organisation, Geneva, helps teachers make a paradigm shift in their teaching and learning.
The training program helps the teachers in their professional development to become life long learners and inquirers who are able to facilitate international pedagogy in the classrooms, creating joy for learning through innovative techniques, where the textbook is only one of the resources used and not the sole resource. Thus The Modern School believes in investment of time and money in their teachers because their teachers will be able to create the right kind of 21st century learners.