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On reflection: how the MYP found its identity

Within the framework of the enhanced IB Middle Years Programme (MYP), Caroline Rennie says that the programme has found its identity. Since the programme officially completed its seven-year review cycle—MYP: Next chapter—on 1 January 2017, Caroline finds both academic rigour and a love for learning within the framework.

We all must find creative ways for students to reflect. As both a parent of three MYP children and my school’s Director of Secondary Studies, I know MYP students are thinkers and inquirers, they have developed complex approaches to learning (ATL) skills, content knowledge, and can transfer this to other contexts and subject areas. Every child can be successful as they are nurtured through formative assessment, given clear task specific clarifications and participate in learning engagements that do not penalise them for making mistakes.

Students are not only allowed to fail, learn and play, but they are also, by nature of the best fit criterion-related assessment model, encouraged to do this even in performances of understanding.

Research also shows a clear indication of how the programme builds on the Primary Years Programme and prepares students for the Diploma and Career-related Programmes.

My answer to why am I still so passionate about MYP 20 years after I first became an MYP educator; it is the MYP community who makes what I do so rewarding. We are the programme. And through our collaboration, it will continue to become stronger so more children and young adults will have access to a similar learning journey that my children have been privileged to access, and they too will experience the gift of excellent teachers to inspire them to do good in their world.

Eleni Vaileiou, a workshop leader and MYP coordinator, also reflected on her experience with the new MYP.

I reflected on this journey of personal and professional development and, despite the challenges of successfully adopting change, it inevitably led me to realize how fascinating moving forward can be.

Bear with me but being a language teacher I could not help but make an allusion to the travel poem “Ithaca,” by Konstantinos P Kavafis, one of my favourite modern Greek poets. I thought I’d share it with you:


As you set out for Ithaca

hope your road is a long one,

full of adventure, full of discovery.

Laistrygonians, Cyclops,

angry Poseidon—don’t be afraid of them:

you’ll never find things like that on your way

as long as you keep your thoughts raised high,

as long as a rare excitement

stirs your spirit and your body.

Laistrygonians, Cyclops,

wild Poseidon—you won’t encounter them

unless you bring them along inside your soul,

unless your soul sets them up in front of you.


Hope your road is a long one.

May there be many summer mornings when,

with what pleasure, what joy,

you enter harbours you’re seeing for the first time;

may you stop at Phoenician trading stations

to buy fine things,

mother of pearl and coral, amber and ebony,

sensual perfume of every kind—

as many sensual perfumes as you can;

and may you visit many Egyptian cities

to learn and go on learning from their scholars.


Keep Ithaca always in your mind.

Arriving there is what you’re destined for.

But don’t hurry the journey at all.

Better if it lasts for years,

so you’re old by the time you reach the island,

wealthy with all you’ve gained on the way,

not expecting Ithaca to make you rich.


Ithaca gave you the marvellous journey.

Without her you wouldn’t have set out.

C P Cavafy, “The City” from C.P. Cavafy: Collected Poems. Translated by Edmund Keeley and Philip Sherrard. 

I will conclude my reflection in the same way as I end most of my workshops: “The journey is the destination. See you all on the MYP journey!”

The review of the Middle Years Programme (MYP), also referred to as MYP: Next chapter, was one of the most extensive reviews of an IB programme ever undertaken, and included the collaborative efforts of  educational experts and IB educators from over 100 pilot schools in 46 countries.

Following the review, the MYP has undergone a rigorous process of improvement that builds on the programme’s strengths and global success. In 2014, more than 1,000 IB World Schools around the world began implementing the revised MYP framework and made significant changes in learning and teaching. In 2016, the IB successfully introduced on-screen MYP examinations.

Currently, the Claremont Evaluation Centre (CEC) is conducting a study to investigate school implementation of the enhanced MYP framework with an aim to evaluate successes and challenges in schools.

How do you reflect on the review of the MYP? Let us know, post your comment below.

Eleni Vasileiou is an MYP Coordinator and a member of the IB Educator Network (IBEN). Caroline Rennie is Director of Secondary Studies, Chadwick International School, South Korea, she is also a member of IBEN and mum to three MYP students.