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Sharing experiences: how to enhance the MYP

Two IB educators reflect on research findings that evaluate the IB’s Middle Years Programme (MYP), which the Claremont Evaluation Center (CEC) facilitated over multiple years. Hear Gabriela Gonzalez from St Brendan’s School in Uruguay and Natasha Haque from the Aga Khan Academy Mombasa in Kenya share their thoughts on interdisciplinary learning, collaboration and more.

Middle Years Prorgramme (MYP) educators Gabriela Gonzalez from St Brendan’s School in Uruguay and Natasha Haque from the Aga Khan Academy Mombasa in Kenya talk about the research study by the Claremont Evaluation Center (CEC) that evaluates the MYP school implementation and how the findings are helping their schools reflect on collaborative strategies and make plans to further develop MYP implementation.

Current implementation of collaborative strategies in the MYP: interdisciplinary learning, service as action and approaches to learning

Gabriela: Collaboration is both an object of concern and optimism at my school. However, it is one of the areas in which we have experienced the most amount of growth as a school community.


Making ATL skills visible and explicit.

Summative assessment of interdisciplinary teaching and learning.

Teachers taking ownership of the service component and seeing it as a key aspect of what they do within the subject.

Thinking outside the box for creative strategies to further foster collaboration. Maximizing the weekly planning time for collaboration and looking for alternative modes of communication and collaboration outside of the regular spaces that have been defined for face-to-face collaboration.

Natasha: Our structure is such that we have set collaborative times, which are timetabled. So we have an afternoon during the week where teachers have collaborative time. However, within our school there is already internal discussions about how to differentiate our collaborative time and get teachers to work  in different focus groups.

How were the CEC findings met by the school pedagogical leadership teams?

Natasha: Many of the findings resonated with the leadership team and actually there are areas that they are already looking to address or finding ways to address. It is always reassuring when others are in the same boat and we can share good practice and work to improve these aspects of the programme together as well as individually.

“I really want to emphasize the transformative potential of collaborative strategies in terms of school growth. I think if we were to think perhaps in education of one of the things that has the best investments in term of giving us high returns, I think collaboration is certainly at the top.”Gabriela Gonzalez

Gabriela: We really appreciated in the report the idea of classified strategies, categories of different types of schools. It is a great way of moving from this dichotomous view of either you are doing it or you are not doing it, but rather see the full spectrum of realities in terms of degrees of implementation.
I really appreciated that this aligns well with the new standards and practices and the idea that we have to think where are we as a school, self-assess our community needs and also develop plans for development and growth in the future.

What actions are schools going to take to further develop MYP collaborative strategies

Some of the actions that the schools are taking include:

  • Launching a professional development project where teachers and groups of teachers are asked to choose one of the areas of collaboration and to propose a practical plan for developing this aspect in connection to their own subject specific teaching. So really integrating into their own practice.
  • Giving time in the calendar for collaborative strategies and practices to take place.
  • Having professional developments instances such as national association to focus on these key aspects of the programme, so colleagues from different schools learn from each other.
  • Looking at the collaborative strategies across the continuum. Looking at what is done in the Primary Years Programme (PYP) and building upwards and what is needed in the Diploma Programme (DP) and building downwards.
Increase professional development
Support for timelines and planning
Offer more opportunities to collaborate
  • Making these elements visible, communicating these to the community, so they do not see them as add-ons, but rather as foundational aspects of their  own learning.
  • Thinking about how to give ownership to students regarding these aspects.
  • Thinking about how we timetable collaborative planning time, how we audit what teachers are actually doing.
  • Creating differentiated collaborative groups and giving more focused professional development sessions.

Further reading:

See research on the implementation and impact of the MYP: Next chapter

Summary report III, 2019
Summary report II, 2018
Summary report, 2017

Researchers from the Claremont Evaluation Center talk about the implementation and impact study and highlight some recommendations.

Learn, explore and reflect on the implementation of the MYP using the high-quality implementation strategies reports and, ‘good practice’, examples.

Engage via MYP Communities on the IB programme resource centre and MYP Twitter @ibmyp #implementMYP

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