Andrew Arida, Director of Undergraduate Admissions at UBC, talks about a few of the benefits of the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme.

MYP and Curriculum

At GNS, the standard BC curriculum from Grades 6 to 10 is taught within the framework of the IB Middle Years Programme (MYP).

The MYP framework includes eight subject groups, providing a broad and balanced education for early adolescents. Each year, students at Glenlyon Norfolk School also engage in at least one collaboratively planned interdisciplinary project that involves at least two subject groups.

The Grade 8 Gallery of Fame is a wonderful example of this kind of project as it brings together elements of Language and Literature, Drama and Design.

MYP modelIn relation to the names used for subjects, we use the International Baccalaureate’s Middle Years Programme terminology. This means that language arts/English is known as ‘language and literature’; French, Spanish, Mandarin and ELL are ‘language acquisition’; social studies is ‘individuals and societies’; physical education is ‘physical and health education’; IT is ‘design’; drama, band, choir and fine arts are ‘arts’; science is ‘sciences’ and mathematics remains unchanged.

The MYP Programme Model outlines the Programme as a whole. The student is at the centre of the programme, followed by the features that help students develop understanding (Learner Profile, Approaches to Teaching, Approaches to Learning, Global Contexts, Concepts). The second ring describes some important outcomes of the programme (Action, Service, Community Project, Personal Project). The third ring describes the MYP’s broad and balanced curriculum.

Teaching and Learning in Context

The MYP requires that teachers at Glenlyon Norfolk School build context around student learning experiences so that students understand why their learning is relevant and meaningful. Using global contexts, MYP students develop an understanding of their common humanity and shared guardianship of the planet through explorations of:

  • Identities and relationships (Who am I? Who are we?)
  • Personal and cultural identity (What is the nature and purpose of creative expression?)
  • Orientations in space and time (What is the meaning of “when” and “where”?)
  • Scientific and technical innovation (How do we understand the worlds in which we live?)
  • Fairness and development (What are the consequences of our common humanity?)
  • Globalization and sustainability (How is everything connected?)

Conceptual Learning

Throughout Grades 6 to 10, our units of study require the students to explore sixteen key interdisciplinary concepts along with related concepts for each subject area. These timeless, universal, big ideas bring focus and depth to student learning.

Aesthetics Change Communication Communities
Connections Creativity Culture Development
Form Global interactions Identity Logic
Perspective Relationships Time, place and space Systems

Approaches to Learning

Glenlyon Norfolk School supports the development of lifelong learners. The IB Program requires teachers to make the learning of skills a priority by focusing on specific skills that students need to develop in order to “learn how to learn.” The aim of teaching these Approaches to Learning (ATL) skills is to produce self-regulated individuals who have been explicitly taught the skills of effective thinking and learning. These skills help our students become successful learners both independently and when working with others.

There are five skill categories that are explicitly taught throughout the eight subject areas at GNS.

ATL Skill Category MYP ATL Clusters
Communication Communication
Social Collaboration
Self-Management Organization
Research Information Literacy
Media Literacy
Thinking Critical Thinking
Creative Thinking

Inquiry as Action

Central to the philosophy of the MYP and the development of learner profile attributes is the principle that purposeful structured inquiry is a powerful vehicle for learning. It promotes meaning and understanding and challenges students to engage with significant ideas. In the MYP, students investigate significant issues by formulating their own questions, designing their own inquiries, assessing the various means available to support their inquiries, and proceeding with research, experimentation, observation and analysis that will help them to find their own responses to the issues. The starting point is students’ current understanding; the goal is the active construction of meaning by building connections between that understanding and new information and experience derived from the inquiry into new content.