The PYP Self-study – A spark!

Finding and Sorting out- a journey into the self study process.

The “Guide to programme evaluation” document as provided by the IB served its purpose. The presentation of my ‘inquiry board’ was followed by a quick highlight of the IB standards and practices. With my sign up sheets ready, I asked teachers to sign up for an area of interest and growth for them or the school. Choice is a huge motivator – allowing the option of what standard to focus on was one of the earlier successes.

With such a wide range of grade level and specialist teachers landing in one team, our first self-study meeting agenda was based on ice breakers and finding out team member connections to the standard chosen. The first process-related tasks were;

  1. Watch  – Video file. How to Facilitate the IB Self-Study by Christopher Frost.
  2. Read the email from our regional office (IB Africa, Europe & Middle East) regarding the upcoming evaluation.

The choice to share the contents of the email from the IB regional office is in the salutation; the email is addressed to the school! I thought it prudent to create a feeling of ownership and transparency in all stakeholders. My goal was to get the message through that this was not my process or that of a selected few, but it was ours.

This exercise expects that the school develops a rating/understanding of the extent to which they meet the standards and practices. We chose to adopt the default rating provided in the guiding document but develop a shared understanding of what each rating means. In mixed groups, all staff present used the same rating on these four different scenarios. The goal was to generate a list of keywords associated with each rank to be referred to once evidence had been gathered for rating.

The groups already had an understanding of the spectrum, where excelling was the highest and emerging was the lowest. I used the group descriptions of the four scenarios and compiled a list of keywords or those recurring. This ‘word cloud’ was shared with the teams on their next self-study meeting and formed part of the agenda.

The consequent task was to use our shared understanding of ‘excelling‘ to paint an ideal picture of what the teams’ standard would be.

  • for example; What would ideal leadership look like? If leadership was excelling at our school, what would it look/feel like?

This template was used by teams to initially brainstorm their ideal ‘excelling‘ situation for their respective standards.

The next step was to now refer to the IB standards and practices and match their ideal situations with program expectations. Responding to: Is there evidence in the standards and practices manual to support this? What does the IB say?

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