Day 2, MYP Humanities (Individuals and Societies) Workshop

Change managementCapture4

The day started with a key note address by Robert Harrison, Curriculum Manager for Continuum Development. He addressed challenges and opportunities for change management in schools; very timely since the MYP represents a huge change in everything we do at our school.

Here are some quotes used by Robert Harrison, they are all by Michael Fullan. (See my notes on a workshop with Fullan here)

  • “People often become clearer about their needs only when they start doing things; that is, during implementation itself.”
  • “The more complex the reform, the greater the problem of clarity… lack of clarity — diffuse goals and unspecified means of implementation — represents a major problem at the implementation stage; teachers and others find that the change is simply not very clear as to what it means in practice.”
  • “The way in which change is put into practice determines to a large extent how well it fares.”
  • “Implementation consists of the process of putting into practice an idea, program, or set of activities and structures new to the people attempting or expected to change.”
  • “The more factors supporting implementation, the more change in practice will be accomplished.”
  • “The history of implementation research is not pleasant. It shows that planned change attempts rarely succeed as intended.”
  • “Educational change is a process of coming to grips with the multiple realities of people, who are the main participants in it.”
  • “Even when there is agreement that some kind of change is needed, as when teachers want to improve some area of the curriculum or improve the school as a whole, the adopted change may not be at all clear about what teachers should do differently. Problems related to clarity appear in virtually every study of change.”
  • “Unclear and unspecified changes can cause great anxiety and frustration to those sincerely trying to implement them.”
  • “Numerous studies document the fact that professional learning communities or collaborative work cultures at the school… are critical for the implementation of attempted reforms.”
“Today knowledge is ubiquitous, constantly changing, growing exponentially… 
Today knowledge is free. It’s like air, it’s like water. It’s become a commodity… 
There’s no competitive advantage today in knowing more than the person next to you. 
The world doesn’t care what you know. What the world cares about is 
what you can do with what you know.”
Harvard Innovation Education Fellow Tony Wagner.


Task specific clarification Requires teachers to study the assessment criteria and t redraft the value statements with the level descriptors in terms of the specific assessment task in the MYP unit.

  • Change some wording to match the task
  • An oral discussion
  • A separate task sheet
  • Page 87 and 88 in From Principles to Practice

Put the two together; first have a student specific task description + criteria, then include the official MYP criteria. Teachers mark using the MYP task description, but students use the subject specific criteria made by teachers to achieve those. The student needs to know what you expect of them and how to achieve success. Here’s an example from the support material on the OCC (Very useful!) Capture2

Approaches to learning

AtLs are our bread and butter as teachers, these are the key life and learning skills. You are not required to do all of these in one unit or in your particular learning area. They should be mapped by the MYP coordinator or AtL coordinator. It is expected that by Year 5, you have reinforced and looked at almost all AtLs. A skill needs to be developed implicitly and explicitly.

Source: “From Principles to Practice”, page 96, Appendix 1 The MYP extends IB approaches to learning (ATL) skills categories into 10 developmentally appropriate clusters. This framework provides common ground from which schools can develop their own ATL planning based on MYP units, student needs, and local circumstances and requirements. ATL skills are often interconnected. Individual skills and skills clusters frequently overlap and may be relevant to more than one skill category. Some of the key questions to be answered by students with respect to ATL skills include the following.

  • What are my present skills in this area and what evidence do I have of my development?
  • What skills can I improve?
  • What new skills can I learn? When specific ATL skills become an explicit focus for teaching and learning, students can begin to take responsibility for their own development.

Over time, students can identify themselves and their competence in any learning strategy using terms like the following.

  • Novice/beginning—students are introduced to the skill, and can watch others performing it (observation)
  • Learner/developing—students copy others who use the skill and use the skill with scaffolding and guidance (emulation)
  • Practitioner/using—students employ the skill confidently and effectively (demonstration)
  • Expert/sharing—students can show others how to use the skill and accurately assess how effectively the skill is used (self-regulation)

 A concept-driven curriculum that uses ATL skills effectively enables all students to become stronger, more self-regulated learners. Some good links, thanks to Stephen Taylor (@ibiologystephen)