The following are four interview questions and answers based on the core values of the PYP. The goal of this was to show my understanding of international mindedness, the PYP curriculum model and its associated elements, address how learners construct meaning, express the practices and principles of inquiry, and identify the roles of reflection and collaboration.
What would I see walking into your PYP classroom?
Walking into my classroom you would see students actively engaged in inquiry. You will notice the students asking provoking questions to not only myself, but also the other students. Each participant will be absorbed in his or her learning activity, which may be different than the next, but all connect to the same experience. The learning will be being produced through experiences, activities, tasks, games, creating, etc. Discoveries are being celebrated and recorded. Students may be working independently, in small groups, or in larger (whole class) groups at any point in time. Each student knows what he or she is doing and why.
On the walls of my classroom you would find information and questions displayed about our current unit. In addition you would see various forms of reflection and discovery evidence related to the questions and lines of inquiry. These provocations would be open ended and globally minded, questions that revolve around large concepts but are broken down for student understanding. Student work fills up most of the display space. The classroom itself has predominately open availability with students accessing their own supplies as needed. Materials are varied and visible.
What is your role as the teacher?
My role as a teacher is more of the facilitator of the classroom. Yes, of course I directly teach content sometimes, but this is more in the manner of modeling behaviors and skills. Most often I guide students in furthering their investigations with the goal of students having independent control over their learning. I introduce provocations that invite questioning, learning experiences, and eventually taking action. I help students develop conclusions and move towards understanding of concepts. I encourage discussions and curiosity through an open dialog and offer suggestions and redirections when needed. I guide students through the learning process by gathering data on what they know and what they have learned so far to better inform their learning experiences and my teaching.
What is your process of planning in your teaching?
The planning process of teaching is not a solitary task; collaboration is imperative. I meet with other members of the school community (team teachers, other grade level teachers, specialists, support staff, and admin) regularly to explore our plans for the learning experiences, assessments, and student’s levels of past, current, and future units. Often I have informal sessions with teachers of my same grade level. We also share planners that can be accessed at any time so we regularly see the result of our own planning combined with others. In addition this is where we share our written reflections so we can continuously work to improve our student’s learning experiences. Planning is not just a beginning, middle, end task, it is a continuous circle that is constantly being informed by students, data from assessments, other community members, and more.
How does International Mindedness influence your classroom?
International Mindedness is one of the core values in my teaching. The plans, activities, and skills I teach within my classroom are based off of international mindedness, which is apparent through the focus of the Learner Profile. These are attributes that are seen in internationally minded people: Thinkers, Reflective, Inquirers, Balanced, Knowledgeable, Caring, Principled, Risk-takers, Open-minded, Communicators. Through modeling, fostering, and by teaching these attributes we as educators can help mold globally respectful, critically thinking, open minded individuals. To do this I am sure to invite an open dialog about different cultures and perspectives, we study and discus important and sensitive issues with tolerance and respect. We also bring this into the activities of the classroom by having opportunities for mother tongue experiences as well as organic developments of language learning. One of the most important parts of International Mindedness is to promote action that is why in my classroom we are continuously striving to develop modes of action where we can not only think and plan solutions but also see them through. By continuing to readdress similar themes throughout their years, students can see similar ideas through different points of view and develop skills and attitudes that will support them through their learning journeys. Finally, in my classroom we not only tolerate but we celebrate differences.
The writings and happenings of What's Going On In The Art Room, written by Ms. Alisa Blundon in Istanbul, Turkey
Guiding Students to Independence through the Artistic Thinking Process
Class Art Kits | Student Responsibility of Supples
Inspiration Around the Room
Draw Around the Room