The International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme at Thomas Jefferson Middle School
What is the IBMYP?
The MYP or Middle Years Program is the second of three programs in the International Baccalaureate (IB) continuum.
The goal of all the IB programs is to develop active, life-long learners: students who have the knowledge, abilities and skills to function independently and collaboratively, to be reflective and to take appropriate action. The IBMYP, particularly, encourages students to:
§ Understand connections across subjects and to the world
§ Become critical and reflective thinkers
§ Develop a strong sense of self-awareness and identify
The IB learner profile is said to be the IB mission statement in action. The traits of the learner profile are the characteristics IB schools are developing in students in order to fulfill the IB goal. The learner profile therefore, provides the foundation for learning in the all programs. The IBMYP is based on 3 fundamental concepts that are important to the emotional, social and intellectual developmentof adolescent learners:
All knowledge is interrelated and the curriculum should foster development of the whole person.
The program emphasizes:
• the understanding of concepts
• the mastery of skills
• the development of attitudes that can lead to
School communities are committed to developing international-mindedness. Students engage with and explore other cultures and consider issues from multiple perspectives.
Open and effective communication is encouraged and fostered in the school community.
Developing a student’s ability to communicate confidently in at least two languages is an integral component of the curriculum.
What is international-mindedness?
· Understanding and celebrating the value of diversity
· Having empathy for those who are different, while retaining pride in
one’s own identity
· Using open-minded inquiry with critical thinking
· Showing adaptability, or capacity to cope with rapid change
· Balancing interdependence with
· Understanding that individuals can
improve the world, and an acceptance of the responsibility to take action to do so.
Adapted from Alex Horsley’s IBNA Regional Conference presentation (2008)
What is the IBMYP curriculum?
The IBMYP curriculum is an international framework of objectives that are standard to all IBMYP schools throughout the world. In 2014, the objectives will be slightly revised to better link the IBMYP with the IBDP (Diploma Program) http://www.ibo.org/diploma/
Students acquire and are assessed on skills and content knowledge in eight subject areas in every year of the program.
The IB organization regards gaining in-depth knowledge in several subject areas simultaneously as integral to the growth and development of middle school students. With a varied, but balanced curriculum, students experience a “richer, more interdisciplinary learning, whereby insights from different disciplines inform learning in a mutually enhancing way.” (IB 2010)
Students study state and county course content in eight subject areas. The eight IBMYP subject areas and TJ courses are:
Language A (English)
Language B (ESL, Spanish, French, Latin)*
Humanities (Social Studies)
Arts (Visual Arts. Band, Chorus and Drama)
Physical Education and Health
*Chinese and Arabic offered as distance courses
Program structure promotes student-centered learning How do I learn? What am I interested in? How can I help others? How do I understand the world?
The Middle Years Programme regards these questions as important for students to explore during their time in middle school. In fact, the Middle Years Programme believes that students are the center of importance; their interests, their thoughts, and knowledge about their own learning are vital in order for education to be meaningful. Therefore, after much research, the International Baccalaureate Organization designed a programme that helps teachers keep in mind what is important to students, while they teach important concepts, content, processes and skills. Global Themes (Areas of Interaction) Provide a Context for Learning
An interdisciplinary and holistic approach to teaching is facilitated through providing a context for student learning. Using five global themes called, Areas of Interaction, students are taught to connect what they are learning to thier personal lives, to other subject areas and to real-world issues.A message to students about the five global themes:
The first theme is called approaches to learning
. This theme asks us to think about how we learn, how we think, and how we express what we are thinking. During the year your teachers will teach you about different ways to learn and organize what you are learning. They will also ask you to participate in reflection about how you learned. The Middle Years Programme breaks this theme down even more. Successful students know how important it is to stay organized and manage your time wisely. Your teachers will help you learn how to organize both your notebook and your time. But, it is up to you to make it happen!
The second theme is called community and service
. Being aware of and taking action in your community is a key part of being a good citizen of the world. What communities do you belong to? What needs do you see in them? How can you help fill those needs? You will participate in service to one or more of your communities this year. Sometimes a teacher will sponsor an activity that helps a community; or, you can decide to do a service activity on your own. Either way, you must think about the needs of the community, an action that fills a need, and then reflect on how providing a service impacted you and the group of people you served.
The third theme is called environments
. While we are very good about caring for our friends and family, it is equally important for us to take care of our earth. This theme asks us to think about the choices that we make and their impact on the natural, built and virtual environments. This is often done in science classes especially when you learn about recycling or natural resources. However, it should be something we think about more. From very simple things, like what is the impact of littering on our school grounds to more complex ideas such as how do we make an environmental change happen through our local government system? The health and safety of our planet is in your hands!
The fourth is a theme called health and social education
. Similar to environments, this theme asks us to think about the impact of our choices on our physical and mental health. Health class should not be the only class in which you think and learn about healthy choices! This is an idea you should consider daily, and in many different ways. For example, have you ever thought about what people ate during the Revolutionary War? Would their diet be considered healthy by today's standards? What was the life expectancy of a healthy male or female in the late 1700's? How does that compare to today? These are interesting questions that might help you reflect on the choices that you make to be healthy.
Finally, the last area of interaction is called human ingenuity
. This theme asks us to think about the human ability to create, and how this sets us apart from other beings. You will be asked to think about human creations and innovations over time, and to examine the impact of these contributions. For example, think about how the computer has changed our world just in your lifetime! You may be asked to think about how these creations could change in the future. How will the computer be used differently in 10 years? 20? Your ability to create and design will also be important. How can you be creative? How will your creativity change the world?
You will hear these themes discussed in all classes, at all grade levels. In fact, teachers may center many of their lessons and units around one or more of these themes because they help make what you are learning meaningful. You will also notice that teachers cross disciplines. This means that you might be asked to talk, read, or learn about history in your English class. Maybe your science teacher focuses on graphs that you have done in math class. It is possible that you will play songs in band and orchestra that are from the time in history that you are studying! This type of teaching is called interdisciplinary and it will help you understand the concepts that you are studying!
What is the teaching and learning approach of the IBMYP?
"Tell me and I forget, show me and I remember, involve me and I understand." The third part of this age-old saying captures the essence of inquiry-based learning.
The instructional model in the IBMYP follows an inquiry-based approach. .Inquiry is a process of gaining understanding by way of active participation. Inquiry entails formulating questions based on one’s current knowledge and seeking answers in order to construct new knowledge. Students are encouraged to reflect on their learning, formulate their own inquiries for further study, and consider appropriate action to take based on what they have learned.
The IBMYP is also concept and skills based. Because information is now at one’s figure tips, teaching focuses on developing students understanding of concepts that are meaningful across disciplines and that connect topics and processes in relevant ways.
In addition, students practice and acquire necessary skills in the individual subject areas as well as habits of mind skills (organization, research, collaboration, making connections, etc) that are needed for success in school and for lifelong learning.
Education with a global perspective: To access information on the Middle Years Programme, click the link below. When you reach the website, click on the red link called the Middle Years Programme. There is a wealth of information about IBMYP philosophy, how it is implemented, and resources for schools going through the application and authorization process. http://www.ibo.org/ibo/index.cfm
The Thomas Jefferson Middle School program has a strong tie to technology (the actual thought process of design and innovation) and technology tools. We have three computer labs and three mobile laptop labs. Teachers have access to tools including digital cameras, movie cameras, Smart Boards and projectors. Teachers have computers connected to televisions to help with visual aids including United Streaming, a wonderful resource that allows teachers to find video footage on just about any topic. Teachers have students using software and Internet tools to create PowerPoint presentations, desktop publications, Webquests, and movies. The students have even begun broadcasting a morning announcement show over closed circuit television. All homework is posted on Blackboard, and some teachers have their own websites. Technology also plays a huge role in Jefferson's Middle Years IB Programme. Teachers are using the Design Cycle to plan lessons that integrate technology into all subject areas. The Design Cycle trains students to look at the big picture of learning and to have a personal stake in their own education. Students learn to investigate, plan, create, and then evaluate three branches of technology: information, materials, and systems. With technology at the helm, students become leaders in the classroom.