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A rewarding experience of mentoring the PYP exhibition

Asnaha Farheen

Asnaha Farheen, grade 5 homeroom teacher, Eastern Public School, India

This article underlines the role of a mentor in facilitating the inquiry process of the Primary Years Programme exhibition. It encompasses the learning journey of an exhibition inquiry group from tuning in to taking actions.

In the final year of the PYP, students engage in a culminating project, the PYP exhibition. The exhibition is a transdisciplinary inquiry conducted in the spirit of personal and shared responsibility. This is a significant event for both the school and the students, synthesizing the essential elements of the PYP and sharing them with the whole school community (Making the PYP happen, 2009).

Mentoring is a fantastic way to be an active part of the PYP exhibition. It was a dual experience for me as I am also a grade 5 homeroom teacher. Unlike other units of inquiry in the PYP, in the exhibition it is students – not teachers – who lead the planning, development and presentation of their work. As a first step, students worked together to pick the global issues; my group chose to inquire about the causes behind lack of education. Being a mentor, my role was to help them find and connect with resources, conduct research and organize their ideas, and find the best ways to present their findings to our school community.

I met with my group of students once a week. The first time we met, we looked through our PYP exhibition journal and the timeline. The students shared their burning questions with me and the work they had already done on a shared understanding of the vocabulary in their central idea. We then set a goal for our next meeting. Every meeting after that included an update on their progress, reflection on the goals we set, self-reflection on the approaches to learning skills and any questions/concerns/ideas they wanted to discuss. These weekly meetings were led and organized by the students.

Visit to Anwar Ul Uloom High School (school for underprivileged children)
My exhibition group learned about the approaches to make “Education for all” at Anwar Ul Uloom, a non-governmental and non-profit organization for underprivileged children. The president of Anwar Ul Uloom shared the mission and vision of the school during this inspirational visit and also created a platform for the comparative study.

Working with Helping Hands Welfare Society (NGO)
The students then worked collaboratively with Helping Hands to dig deeper into the root causes of poor literacy. They learned that to bring about a change, a quality education should be available to all.

Taking action is the most prominent part of the entire exhibition process. Learners became more responsible citizens by taking smart, measurable, actionable relevant and time bound action. Students participated in collaborative discussions and competently came up with positive actions and responsibilities to make this world a better place to live in.

  • An effective biopic was organized by the students on Malala Yusufzai, the Nobel Prize winner. The aim was to ignite the desire for educating the masses.
  • A heart touching documentary was shot and uploaded on YouTube where the slum children were interviewed on their ambitions and a message was given that, it is the people who can make those children’s dreams become a reality.
  • Poems were written in Urdu on right to education for all.
  • Students also went to an NGO school for the unprivileged children and taught the students as IB study buddies. They donated resources such as stationary, calculators, dictionaries and story books to bring a change in the life of government school kids.

Overall mentoring was a rewarding experience. The students were able to explicitly articulate their understanding on the exhibition day and transcend their thoughts to the community in an effective and engrossing way.

Asnaha has 6 years of experience as a homeroom teacher. She likes utilizing new technological teaching techniques in her classroom practices, and has creative attitude in teaching and learning to make her lessons more interesting for students. Asnaha strongly believes student initiated learning makes them lifelong learners.

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13 Responses to A rewarding experience of mentoring the PYP exhibition

  1. Grant 9 August 2016 at 10:48 am #

    We are about to undergo our second exhibition ever. This year we have changed the expectations on staff as mentors and your article will serve to help immensely. The timing is perfect and your words well worth reading. Thank you

  2. Dr. Kehkashhan Yaqub 10 August 2016 at 2:08 pm #

    An inspirational article for all educators who want to mentor students for the PYP Exhibition. Truly “reflective”.
    Keep it up !

  3. faizan khan 11 August 2016 at 5:11 pm #

    This article talks about students ownership towards their studies & teacher’s involvement to make the inquiry journey smooth. It was really a worth read. KUDOS for the authors

  4. Faiza Khan 25 August 2016 at 6:59 pm #

    The article reflects a functional class aiming towards perfection. Inspiring and motivational for mentors.Great work!

  5. Maryam 1 September 2016 at 3:04 am #

    The article is amazing, fabulous, keep up the good work, you are begin great doing all this job . Your institute must be proud of you .

  6. Saima Naved 1 September 2016 at 7:08 pm #

    Asnaha is a knowledgeable teacher, I knew her ever since i came in contact with her in my career… she is caring, thinker, knowledgeable, principled, risk taker and much more… My words are not enough to express her devotion and her dedication towards her sincere attitude and her hard work.. She has the ability to showcase her performance in the best possible manner in the form of her students taking action in their real life situations…
    I wish her luck and bright future…

  7. Haider Parvez 5 September 2016 at 8:33 pm #

    Great work both by Asnaha as well the organizers of the PYP exhibition. A real time experience like this will make young minds appreciate what they have and also lend an helping hand towards the society. In fact making the students work on Malala’s biopic is an master stroke as she would be someone the kids would relate to and look upto.

    Such programs enables the students and enriches their life experiences hence laying a pathway towards them becoming a more responsible and global citizen.

    Kudos and all the best to Asnaha, the students and the organizers…

  8. Leila 22 September 2016 at 6:01 am #

    I loved the article.
    It was really inspiring.

  9. Zenab Khan Zuheb 5 October 2016 at 9:38 am #

    I know you since past few years, You are very innovative and the way you and Humera Mam handle the PYP exhibition is seriously Great.
    Your work demands good platforms like this one ,and here you are. Kudos to you. Your experience in this content is very much visible. May you upload more inspiring articles in future .
    All the best Asnah Mam:)

  10. Sharief 13 March 2017 at 12:59 pm #

    Great work Asna, This is really transformational work. If we want to create any revolution this is the platform where this young mind is transformed to innovation. This is going to be a permanent. You have started not only reading history but also guiding this kids how to make history.

  11. Aisha 18 March 2017 at 2:51 pm #

    Asnaha’s devotion ,dedication and hardwork has being refected in her work which makes the learners contribute towards the world of education; by becoming not only contributers of society but also civilised citizens. Well done ASNAHA I keep it up!

  12. Bhupinder 13 October 2018 at 9:27 am #

    I loved your article. In particular I was inspired by the action the students took.
    As a new mentor myself, please could you suggest some assessment tools you found helpful during this process?

  13. Britney Torpe 29 April 2019 at 8:32 am #

    Sounds Good!

    In an ideal world, learners can benefit the most out of regular interactions with mentors and gain professional insights to increase their knowledge well.

    Thanks for sharing with us and keep motivating. Looking forward to reading more blogs from you.

    keep up the good work 🙂

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