It’s About Time

Now that another academic year is drawing to a close, it’s a worthwhile reflection to think about how we have used our time to focus on learning.

It’s about time.

A school year for an international school runs for an average of 180 days. That’s only 420 minutes of learning opportunities structured in a day, and a total of 75,600 minutes of structured opportunities to learn in a school year.

When a school is not deliberate about designing how to use time effectively to maximize learning, the ultimate losers are students.

How do schools waste time, and what might be some ways to regain time in the next school year?

How Schools Waste Time

Ineffective use of allocated meeting time

If faculty groups meet once a week, this translates to around 36 meetings in a year. This is about 36-45 hours to make sure that there is a shared and common understanding of complex knowledge, such as how to write statements of understanding; how to plan units; standardizing criteria; how to effectively teach for transfer; developing progressions of learning; flagging concerns for intervention and developing interventions systematically. The list is endless of complex work that faculties have to revisit, resolve, and enact.

Ineffective meetings can put a halt to this complex work. Characterized by nostalgic monologues, tirades of problems without offering alternative solutions, and other soliloquy that are just plain resistance to change.

Procrastination of one becomes procrastination for the rest

Timelines are artifacts of interdependence. The actions in a timeline represent everyone’s success, and when one person or department drags the work back, it affects many others and their ability to successfully achieve something. So, one person procrastinating and/or resisting work effectively halts the group’s success.

Disregarding systems

Systems and structures in place ensure consistency and accountability. After all, school is predicated on a promise that the children we have in our care will learn and achieve [insert standards here] in any given school year.

Ignoring a system and its structures puts this promise at risk. Say a parent doesn’t like one of his child’s teachers, and he goes to another teacher who teaches the same subject without informing the current teacher of his child of his intentions. He asks to put his child in the second teacher’s class. This breach of communication lines for intervention creates a situation of conflict. Now someone has to mediate between the two teachers. Now someone has to spend time repairing the relational damage that has been done. All because a systemic procedure was disregarded (not to mention professional courtesy).


Remember that famous anonymous analogy of organizations as a boat with everyone rowing? Well, sometimes we get people who are in the boat with everyone else and they hold drills in their hands. And they drill holes in the boat whilst everyone else rows.

Drilling can happen in many ways. One of the most unproductive behaviors that can drill holes in a boat is what the literature sometimes terms ‘parking lot meetings.’

Parking lot [or hallways or coffee break] meetings are essentially gripe sessions that have no other purpose than to not solve a problem. These private conversations usually do not involve the decision makers of the organization, so nothing gets done as a result except creating feelings of bad faith in the work.


So much research has been done on effective professional development and networking thinking. Standards for school implementation of programs like the IB, for instance, specifically ask schools to enact collaboration. The benefits of collaboration reflect the parallel pathways of globalization and the increasing need to nurture interdisciplinary problem-solving. After all, we know that problems aren’t subject-specific. World problems move back and forth across disciplinary lines. These interdisciplinary global issues necessarily ask of education to enact contextual resolutions in the simulations of the real world which teachers design into assessment tasks.

So when we insist on closing the door, ask people to remain within imaginary boundaries between subjects or departments, we invite obsolescence.

So how do we avoid these pitfalls given the fact that we understand the limits of time for co-constructing the school experience for our students?

Ways of Regaining Time

Use protocols, expect products

People have studied dynamical systems, which school is one. Adaptive SchoolsSM and its parent organization Thinking Collaborative have developed ways to use protocols to design the contact architecture for productive collaboration.

Clear expectations of what we want to achieve during a collaborative meeting helps to focus our work and supports the use of limited time.

Develop and clearly communicate timelines

Clear timelines for implementation is a necessity. Action plans, calendars and similar tools are readily available for faculty groups to use as they enact goals.

Breaking down large goals into manageable chunks of work help us to prioritize and celebrate incremental wins toward the big goal. Strategies like the target board and Gantt time management tools are useful tools in developing clear timelines.

Clearly communicate systems and how they work

Conscious thought as an interdependent individual is vital. Recognizing that as independent agents, our own capacities and work impact the effectiveness and success of others is a trait of people who are interdependent.

Communicating the ways that individuals’ work relates to the work of the group helps in increasing this mental resource of consciousness and supports thinking toward becoming more aware of how our own inaction impacts the direction and journey of others.

We may also be mindful of the implementation dip and support each other as we learn to rise above the temporary dip.

Invite drillers to stop drilling and join the ones who are rowing

Often, drillers are not aware that they are drilling. They might think they are being helpful. Pointing out the differences between productive talk (putting ideas on the table, presuming positive intentions) and unproductive talk (rumor and complaint) might help drillers to increase awareness on how the ways that they communicate affect the ways the work progresses in positive or negative ways.

Build in collaborative time and communicate expectations for implementation, work on collaboration and operationalize a way of being

Breaking down silos is long, complex work. Collaboration is not a natural skill but is one that needs to be learned and developed. Adaptive SchoolsSM has developed a set of norms of collaboration. Deliberately taking the time to learn, rehearse and assess these norms is one way of encouraging collaboration.

Structures need to be in place for collaboration to occur. Placing collaboration in the work schedule emphasizes its importance to the organization. Carefully planning meetings so they are not memo-meetings but learning engagements, highlights the importance of working together to achieve common goals.

Time in schools and for schools is more than creating a calendar for 180 days.

Working with our use of time is about the reason why we gather each school year: to facilitate learning and achievement.

And how might we then use this scarce resource to maximize our purpose?



Photo Credit:

Featured photo Helping Hand By Emile Renouf (1845-1894) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.

Beach cottage life by (c) Rene Marie Photography.

It’s About You…and it’s Not About You at All

In our classrooms, we know that not all students are at the same place in their learning. Some have more background knowledge than others, maybe because they read regularly and read a variety of material. Some have more developed skills than other students, and each student has had more or less rehearsal of one or more skills. The classroom is a matrix of different learning trajectories, and as skillful teachers we must recognize where each student is and address each one’s learning accordingly.

Supporting adult learners is not unlike supporting young learners. Adults in any MYP are at different stages of understanding of programme elements and implementation. They come from a variety of teaching backgrounds and frameworks, they have different learning preferences, and they each have a different context and conception of their identity, of who they are as professional learners.

Because each learner comes with different strengths and needs, coaching as a support function is a way to value each learner’s existing knowledge and help him or her to find resources to set goals, achieve them, reflect on implementation of intentions, and solve problems encountered along the way.

Coaching as a differentiated support function

Coaching is allowing each individual learner to form a self-portrait of the self as learner in his or her own words. The narrative he or she provides through the coaching process is a “process of authentic self-presence, thinking and choosing as a way of discovering and knowing the nature and meaning of significant experiences in identity formation and selfhood” (Moustakas, 1994, p. 63). The coach functions as a mediator of this learning.

Feuerstein and colleagues (2000) suggest that this type of mediative learning includes being able to “experience that thing at deeper levels of cognitive, emotional attitudinal, energetic, and affective impact through the interposition of the mediator between the learner and the experienced object or event” (p. 275).

The coach is someone who conveys another person through their thinking from one state to another, more desirable state. Costa and colleagues (2013) use the metaphor of a stagecoach to represent coaching—a vehicle for taking a person from one place to another.

Source: US National Archives & Records Administration via Wikimedia Commons.

Source: US National Archives & Records Administration via Wikimedia Commons.

It’s about you…and it’s not about you at all

If you are the coach, the coaching is about you, but it is not about you at all. The role of the coach is to attend to the other’s thinking.

When I first trained to be a cognitive coach, I thought I was a good listener. As I learned about the quality of listening necessary to be other-centered as a coach, I realized I was wrong.

In fact, when I used to listen, I engaged in either one or more of these:

  • Autobiographical listening – listening so I can connect to or chime in with something from experience
  • Solution listening – listening so I could help the person solve the problem
  • Curiosity listening – listening because I was curious

It is about you, the coach. The biggest change for coaching to become a successful support function is for the coach to struggle through the challenge of having to stop listening from these positions. We have to give up our own thinking and context to truly attend to the other person’s thinking.

Ways to listen thoroughly 

The skills needed to adopt a coaching attitude necessitated a change in the coach’s own cognitive behavior. If a coach is to convey a person’s thinking from one state to another, the coach needs to listen so that he or she can do the following:

  • Paraphrase the thinking to clarify it to the other person
  • Pose questions to move thinking forward

We might notice that with these two behaviors, we do not need our own experience, we are not the problem solvers of the case, and we only need what we are listening to, nothing more. These behaviors eliminate the necessity for autobiographical listening, problem-solving listening, and curiosity.

To be effective coaches, we must let go of our own attitudinal predispositions and practice complete empathy.

The values of cognitive coaching

Teaching and learning occurs through three valuable stages: intention, action, and reflection. (These are familiar to us as the curriculum: plans, teaching, assessment. It is also a reflection of our inquiry cycle: inquire, take action, reflect.)

Coaching helps to clarify how action addresses intention, and supports reflection on how this relationship between intention and action might be strengthened (Costa and Garmston, 1994). This function of coaching helps people work toward their goals for teaching and learning.

It helps people solve their problems. Often when people are stressed by challenge, it means their skills and understanding necessitate a stretch toward crossing what Vygotsky calls the “zone of proximal development” or what we might recognize as an implementation dip. Coaching helps the person find cognitive resources to continue their work toward stretching, through learning, to meet the challenges they face. In a coaching conversation, the listening, paraphrasing helps to acknowledge the emotions, and posing mediative questions helps elevate the thinking to the cognitive level, where problem solving can occur.

Leading learning is ‘messy work’

Each learner is on a different trajectory toward understanding. As leaders of learning, we need to allow each learner to follow his or her own trajectory at his or her unique, optimum pace. We also have the privilege of helping them find their cognitive resources to support them along the way. If we continue to be the assessors of each one’s learning, how might we help learners become independent, self-directed learners?

Leading learning, whether in a classroom or in a programme, is messy work. If we are mindful of what each person needs to learn and help them help themselves through coaching, we can cultivate a culture of self-directed learning in our schools.



Costa, A. L., & Garmston, R. J. (1994). Cognitive coaching: A foundation for renaissance schools. Norwood, MA: Christopher Gordon.

Costa, A., Garmston, R., Ellison, J., & Hayes, C. (2013). Cognitive Coaching Seminars foundation training: Learning guide (9th ed.). Highlands Ranch, CO: Thinking Collaborative.

Feuerstein, R., Feuerstein, R. S., & Falik, L. H. (2010). Beyond smarter: Mediated learning and the brain’s capacity for change. New York, NY: Teachers College Press.

Moustakas, C. (1994). Phenomenological research methods. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.



Weaving threads of understanding into school culture

When faced with the challenge of implementing new practices, often organizations go through an implementation dip because previous expertise no longer suffices in the new programme.

The organization can support teachers through some processes, which when combined provide what Drago-Seversen (2009) calls “holding environments” for professional learning. Holding environments are specific structures and processes, which help practitioners feel safe as they experiment, innovate, and create to enact implementation goals.

Support functions for teachers in implementation

MYP schools are fortunate to have teachers remain. Having knowledge and understanding of the MYP remain within a school as schools grow is a benefit to the overall culture of a school. How might a pedagogical leadership team provide support functions for teachers, as they grow and develop their MYP practice?

How might we support teacher thinking as teachers implement their plans in their classrooms?

The four support functions available to pedagogical leaders have inherently distinct purposes and ways of communication, and they each use assessment in very specific ways.

Evaluation as a support function

Evaluative Support is a more direct form of supervision. This is most familiar to us in many of the traditional appraisal systems, where the supervisor provides a formal process and criteria for teacher evaluation; there is a formal set of conversations that accompany the evaluation, and the teacher is bound to provide a formal, documented response to the evaluation. Evaluations are often useful when teachers are perceived to be not meeting expectations in a school, and the communication between the supervisor and the teacher consists of judgments of the teacher’s practice.

Evaluation as a support function usually comes from the supervisor. The assessment stance of evaluation comes from the formal appraisal system and its purpose seems to hinge upon a transactional contract, specifically the transactional contract between the teacher and the school as employer. The limitations of the evaluative support function lie in its inception; since the assessment is from a point of view outside of the teacher’s identity, the teacher’s default response to the evaluation is compliance. The response may take on more in-depth self-assessment, but this may not be an inherent element of the evaluative support function, unless it is specifically spelled out in the process itself.

 Consultation as a support function

Consultation as a support function is more two-directional in that its initiation can come from the supervisor or the teacher. Consultation means the direct instruction of aspects of practice, for which the consultant (often the supervisor) has expertise, which he or she transmits to the teacher. Either the supervisor can provide the consultation by directly arranging instructional meetings with the teacher, or the teacher can ask for consultation from the perceived expert. Whether the start of a consultation is from the consultant or the teacher, consultative conversations have a more flexible transactional contract than evaluation; if the teacher is the one asking for a consultation, there is an implication of prior self-assessment that has led the teacher to seek advice.

In both evaluation and consultation, the relationship between the two parties is not collegial, in that one party is providing the instruction for changes necessary to practice, and the other party receives or responds to this instruction.

Collaboration as a support function

Collaboration as a support function is collegial in nature. In a collaborative situation, colleagues gather to engage in dialog or discussion. Dialog has the purpose of reaching a shared understanding, while discussion has the purpose of reaching a decision together (Garmston and Wellman, 2013). Both of these conversations require that colleagues equally participate in meaning-making, and they use collaborative norms to contribute to the shared outcomes.

Because collaboration helps group members to contribute to shared outcomes, collaboration might be less stressful as a support function and more engaging. Each colleague contributes, each idea is honored and acknowledged, and all have ownership of the outcomes. Successful collaboration involves active listening, and norms, which when practiced make for effective, powerful work (Costa and Garmston, Ellis and Hayes, 2013).

Collaboration is multi-transactional, in that each person independently finds his or her contribution, but the group also finds its collective co-constructed contribution. This support function increases interdependence, or what Costa and Garmston (1994) term holonomy. Collaboration might also be transformational, in that the process and outcomes of collaboration increase a sense of agency and efficacy in individuals and groups (Brody & Hadar, 2010).

By Zarood (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

By Zarood (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

Coaching as a support function

Finally, coaching as a support function shifts the focus of the relationship in the support structure. Whereas collaboration requires that “we pay attention to self and others” (Costa, Garmston, Ellis and Hayes, 2013), coaching is wholly other-centered. Coaching is being attentive to another person’s thinking, and helping the person’s thinking move from one state to another, desired state. A coach conveys the person, through reflective paraphrasing and mediative questions, from a state of pondering into a state of knowing and understanding.

These support functions help teachers in implementation, and the pedagogical leadership in a school can thoughtfully apply each of these support functions in a range of situations deliberately assessed and provided the support to help teachers develop and grow their MYP practice, and embed understanding of the MYP within the cultural fabric of the school.

Portrait of a self-directed learner

As we develop Approaches to Learning skills in our students, we are essentially presenting them with this question (rephrased from Costa & Kallick, 2014) to ask themselves:

When the solution to this unfamiliar problem is not readily apparent, what do I do to learn?

For MYP Year 5, we ask the question of our students through the Personal Project. Students respond ideally through deliberate use of ATL skills to construct a process by which they inquire, plan, take action and evaluate a self-conceptualized idea.

How do we take them there? This question is answered by how we scaffold the process by which students experience and repeatedly co-construct processes through which they learn, rehearse, and actualize the deliberate choice and use of ATL skills. As students progress through the MYP, explicit instruction in the choice and use of ATL skills facilitates internalization of these skills.

Costa and Kallick’s Dispositions: Reframing Teaching and Learning (2014) presents a model for the planning, teaching and assessment of ATL skills, termed dispositions in the book.

Costa and Kallick’s model (2014) transposed to the MYP gives us layers of ATL skills development.

Figure 1. Layers of ATL skills use

Figure 1. Layers of ATL skills use

The value of this model to MYP practitioners is the direct correspondence of the layers to our own process of planning learning. The MYP framework holds conceptual understanding as the core of planning; our key concepts and related concepts give us an interdisciplinary (key concepts) and disciplinary framework (related concepts) upon which to design learning experiences for students.

Through the conceptual framework, students construct understanding through subject specific cognitive processes, represented by the command terms in subject objectives and criteria. Implicit in these cognitive processes are discrete patterns of thinking demanded by subject disciplines, culminating in transfer, a cognitive skill students must necessarily engage when thinking in interdisciplinary contexts.

These skills manifest in the summative assessments, designed for students to deliberately choose and use ATL skills in increasing complexity as they progress through the MYP.

Finally, the outer layer of Costa and Kallick’s framework (2014) call upon the communication, affective and social skills, which students intentionally draw upon in performances of understanding.

How does this framework of ATL use relate to the ATL self-assessment model?

The Dreyfus Model of skill acquisition presents self-directedness as the ultimate achievement of skills. Self-assessment means that students internalize the ATL skills. Internalization of skills is indicated by eight dimensions (Costa & Kallick, 2014).

These dimensions are named using Costa and Kallick’s terms, and described below.

  1. Meaning – Students understand the skill, what it looks like/sounds like/feels like. They are able to explain examples of the skill as well as non-examples. Students might use similar categories or descriptions when describing the skill and how it might apply to different situations.
  2. Capacity – Students are able to deliberately perform the skill confidently. Students have a repertoire of strategies, tools and techniques to perform a skill cluster.
  3. Situational awareness – Students are able to draw upon different skill clusters in a variety of situations. Students recognize situational parameters, which indicate which skills to draw out in familiar and unfamiliar contexts.
  4. Spontaneity – Students do not need someone else to prompt them to use the skill. They are motivated internally to choose and use skills to take action or perform understanding.
  5. Benefits – Students recognize the value of a skill. They are able to predict outcomes of use or non-use of specific skills.
  6. Reflection – Students are aware of their own thinking, choices, and performances of skills. They might also convince others to use the skill in situations demanding this persuasion.
  7. Intentionality – Students do not perform skills without thought, but deliberately call upon skills when these best-fit a situation or problem.
  8. Action – Students manifest internal drive and self-direction in the performance of a skill. They might also advise others to act upon a task using a skill and are able to articulate why it suits a context.
Figure 2. Portrait of a self-directed learner

Figure 2. Portrait of a self-directed learner

Figure 2.  A synthesis of the indicators for internalization and the Dreyfus model.

You can access a PDF version of this portrait of a self-directed learner here.

What can we do to collaborate on our ATL skills development?

Costa and Kallick (2014) suggest some ways ATL skills development might achieve coherence in our MYP.

Use a common language for the ATL skills. This language is available to us and to our students through the documents guiding MYP implementation. How might we use command terms consistently? What words might we use to help our students conceptualize skills? Assess skills?

Repeat frequently. How might our students repeatedly hear about and focus on skills as they progress through the MYP?

Draw attention to skills in different contexts. How might we guide students to find the ATL skills in various problem settings? How might we help students to make connections between the problems they are learning to solve, and the language with which they can express understanding of their learning?

Discuss the meaning and relevance of skills. How might we help students to make connections between Learner Profile attributes and the ATL skills? How might we allow students to form concepts of what the skill looks like/sounds like/feels like?

Pose questions to engage cognition on skills choice and use. How might we ask students to think of performances of understanding through concrete processes embedded in the ATL skills clusters?

Reflect on the choice and use of skills. Might we ask our students, What is going on in your mind when you transfer a skill from a disciplinary context to an interdisciplinary problem?

Establish clear expectations. Expectations can be given prior to performance tasks, and they can also be implicit in the types of feedback we give to our students. Descriptive feedback, a type of feedback, which articulates a cognitive process, seems to nurture a growth mindset. When a student succeeds, and the feedback consists of a description of the skills chosen and used to create a successful outcome, the student learns the expectation inherent in the skill being described. This drives future choice and use of the skill in connection with context.

As we co-construct our MYP: Current Chapter, we see that there are many possible ways by which we can evolve a coherent framework of ATL skills development for our students.

What might be ways you can develop integration of skills choice and use by students and adults in your school? What might be some challenges? Share your thoughts in the comments.


Join our community on Twitter! We hold #MYPChat, an informal gathering of MYP educators on Twitter held fortnightly. Our next MYPChat is on October 30, when we will be dialoging on Standard C1 Collaboration and reflection, in action!

MYPChat on Oct 30: Standard C1 in action

MYPChat on Oct 30: Standard C1 in action

Making connections for ATL skills articulation, Part 1

Part 1, ATL development in the classroom and subject

The MYP faculty meeting yesterday yielded a lot of shared understanding about ATL skills implementation. Making connections was a big part of the engagements. As we made connections, we began to see how these connections made ATL skills the “bones of the MYP”–they may be invisible as they are, but they hold up the systems.

There are layers of implementation in MYP, illustrated by the diagram below.

Layers of MYP Implementation

This first year of transition into MYP: Next Chapter holds a lot of challenges, and in our efforts at alignment, we collaboratively decided in May 2014 to focus on classroom implementation first–planning learning and assessment, and using new criteria, fueling our developmental work with the collaborative time and structures with which we  inquire into points of practice and share understanding. Professional learning that is closest in proximity to the classroom, and to student learning, seems to drive our collaborative planning, as well as honing craftsmanship and efficacy of individual teachers in the context of a complex, messy process of implementing a shiny new MYP. For this meeting, we used these three tasks to help us make connections.

ATL in the classroom

Even with co-teachers planning together, a unit planner holds personal design choices implicit within the connections it makes. Choices we make in a unit plan of key concept, related concepts and global context present the overall frame of learning and teaching intention. As the unit plan progresses through the statement of inquiry, unpacked in inquiry questions and answered by the summative assessment design, the ATL skills immediately adjacent to the assessment presents the teacher with a rationale for choices made. When we choose ATL skills immediately connected to our big idea in the statement of inquiry and the assessment of learning, those ATL skills are chosen as skills essentially manifested in the summative assessment.

The task we used to make this connection was a simple template. Teachers picked a strand they were assessing in a summative task, and stated its connection to the skill students need to use and will be clearly manifested in the summative task product. An example is given below.

An Assessment-ATL connection for PHE

As teachers went through this simple task of connecting assessment to ATL skill, we understood why there is inherently a contextual requirement for ATL skills development in MYP. When we plan ATL articulation with our students in mind, our planning is relevant, meaningful, and has endless potential to manifest in how our students perform and achieve. For a teacher, this connection is a powerful source of efficacy and agency. When the choices a teacher makes holds authentic relevance visible in student learning, unit planning, teaching and assessment become mindful engagements, opportunities to be thoughtful and precise.

ATL in the Subject

Units planned, taught and assessed throughout a school year form the subject overview. Our second task in the meeting was to see connections throughout the subjects we teach. We focused on the command terms in this task, as the command terms in the criterion strands of our subjects progress through levels of complexity, which indicate skills that necessarily must become evident and manifest in assessments designed to reveal levels of learning and achievement described by the criterion strands. Below is an example from Sciences.

Command terms and complexity

When we examine one criterion closely, we begin to see the progression of complexity at which students must perform and achieve in an MYP subject. The command terms anchor us in a connection between ATL skills that manifest in a subject and the level of complexity at which these ATL skills must be used. As a student moves through the MYP years, he or she needs to call upon the ATL skills to engage in tasks of increasing complexity. In Sciences, for instance, the complexity can be identified when we juxtapose Bloom’s taxonomy with our command terms.

from Journal of Indian Law and Society.

from Journal of Indian Law and Society.

The juxtaposition of the command terms present in the Sciences criterion B strands shows an increasing level of complexity at which students must perform the ATL skills implicit in Inquiring and designing in Sciences.

Bloom's Taxonomy and Sciences Criterion B (Sciences Subject Guide, 2014)

Bloom’s Taxonomy and Sciences Criterion B (Sciences Subject Guide, 2014)

Where do we see this complexity? When we see the overview of a subject, the assessment design shows us the increasing complexity at which the MYP student needs to learn, perform and achieve as he or she progresses through the subject.

The value of the Overview

Side by side with the other MYP subjects, we can make connections throughout our MYP. Our third task was to examine three different sets of criteria strands. Below is our task 3 from the meeting.

Task 3. Take a look at the tasks described below.

Inquiry Questions:

Factual – What skills are implicit in these strands?

Conceptual – How does a student have to perform the same skill at different levels of complexity?

Debatable – How do our students reach independence in learning for year 5?

 Year 1: 

  • explains the choice of a research question
  • effectively follows an action plan to explore a research question
  • uses methods to collect and record consistently relevant information
  • thoroughly reflects on the research process and results

from Individuals and Societies Guide (2014), Criterion B

Year 3:

  • designs and explains a plan for improving physical performance and health
  • explains the effectiveness of a plan based on the outcome

 from Physical and Health Education Guide (2014), Criterion B 

Year 5:

  • develop rigorous criteria for the product/outcome
  • present a detailed and accurate plan and record of the development process of the project
  • demonstrate excellent self-management skills

from Projects Guide (2014), Criterion B for Personal Projects

The intention for using Criterion B was to draw out the understanding that MYP subjects’ Criterion B are process learning criteria, focusing on a subject’s methodology to teach students the purposes, values and limitations of a learning process. The inquiry process implicit within Criterion B in all subjects shows us a MYP-wide thread of using iterative, cyclical processes to approach learning.

As teachers examined the Criterion B from two different MYP subjects and the Personal Project, the understanding that emerged was how subjects had opportunities for allowing transfer, the ATL skill learners must draw upon to make connections between themselves and their learning, concepts and contexts across subjects, and among other relationships, understanding of different perspectives and that these perspectives, “with their differences, can also be right” (IB Mission Statement).


In Part 2, we will explore ATL skills from the programmatic level, looking at how policies and the MYP core may be systemically aligned with and through ATL articulation.

Please join our professional learning network! MYP educators connected on Twitter hold #MYPChat hosted by Stephen Taylor and other MYP educators.