Friday, 1 January 2016

Got your first interview for a PYP job?

Have you ever heard the phrase, "Making the PYP Happen" before? Well it has a few different meanings depending on the context. I would like to explain my understanding of the phrase in this blog post. This should give you a head start in your first interview with an IB school.

First of all, "Making the PYP happen: A curriculum framework for international primary education" (2009) is a manual that thoroughly explains the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Program. It is one of those amazing manuscripts that every time you pick it up you learn something new from it. You can Google it and find it easily online.

Making the PYP Happen is also a Category 1 course that is offered by the IB's professional development department. It may be done in a face-to-face workshop, which may be over two or three days. It may also be done online over a period of four weeks. All the information you need to get on the course may be found on the IB website. When a PYP school comes to its authorization or self-study stage all teachers must have taken this course. It is an excellent introduction to the curriculum framework.

If you are looking for your first job in an IB school I would advise you to take this course yourself. It will be in your favor when you have your interview. I would like to share some advice here for that first interview.

The IB mission statement which may be found on the website is taught to students through what is called the learner profile attributes. These are 10 attributes that we wish to pass on to our students as they progress through the program. The IB consider the development of these 10 attributes to be international mindedness, an important concept within the programme.

There are five essential elements to the PYP. They are: Knowledge, Concepts, Skills, Attitudes and Action. It would be worthwhile to learn about these five elements in the book Making the PYP Happen, mentioned above.

Two other very important parts of the program in my opinion are inquiry and understanding by design. A definition of inquiry may be found on p. 29 of MTPYPH and a good video describing UbD (which is our assessment theory) may be found here. To me however, inquiry is guiding students to socially construct their own meaning.

A good model to follow for a lesson would be: 1. Introduce the lesson and assess students prior knowledge. 2. Have the students create groups and work to socially construct meaning. A concept map like I mention in this post would be a good way to document this. 3. Have the groups come up one by one to share their learning. 4. Stick up the students concept maps on the wall.

I have been a recruiter at Search Associates fairs for two years now and I would like to leave you with one gem. In your confidential references there is a question: "How does the candidate affect school climate?" It is on a scale from 1-10. It is very important that you are a positive person at your school. Unfortunately there are too many naysayers out there. Do not be one of them, it will get you nowhere! I hope this helps.