I recently started reading Neil Postman’s The End of Education: Redefining the Value of School. In it he writes:
Without a transcendent and honourable purpose schooling must reach its finish, and the sooner we are done with it the better. With such a purpose, schooling becomes the central institution through which the young may find reasons for continuing to educate themselves.
It was with this in mind that I entered into a discussion with our MYP Coordinator about how we might approach MYP Community Day (12 October 2020) during these interesting times.
MYP Community Day is, more broadly, part of the MYP Community Project, which encourages students to explore their right and responsibility to implement service as action in the community through a cycle of inquiry, action and reflection.
We chose as the theme of MYP Community Day 2020 Thinking Globally and Acting Locally: Embodying the IB Learner Profile.
The IB learner profile (see below) is central to all IB programmes, which aim to “develop internationally minded people who, recognizing their common humanity and shared guardianship of the planet, help to create a better and more peaceful world”. Embodying the 10 attributes of the IB learner profile leads individuals and groups to become more “responsible members of local, national and global communities”.
This led to the following line of thought…
A community is the stories that it tells.
Our stories are deeply personal and precious, but they also weave together to form a tapestry that is breath-taking in its complexity and marvellous to behold.
Our stories are shaped by events, but our stories also shape events. For better or worse, we are living through an extraordinary event – a global pandemic that is shaping the story of every person on our shared planet. This event, in turn, demands a response, both personal and communal.
October is International School Libraries Month. The theme, appropriately, is Finding Your Way to Good Health and Well-Being, which is based on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 3 – Good Health and Well-Being. As the IB learner profile reminds us, we share guardianship of the planet, and a healthy planet depends on many things. The UN identifies 17 interrelated global concerns, all of which are made more challenging by the global pandemic.
Some of these challenges are easier to rise to locally than others, but all need to be met.
Which will we choose to act on?
Over the course of the day, then, pupils will share their own stories about lockdown, which will share features of each other’s stories. From the perspective of this emerging communal story, pupils will then share in the lockdown stories of children from communities very different to their own.
Lockdown does not last forever, though, and we emerge from lockdown into a world that is only strangely familiar, and one that requires our urgent attention.
Pupils will, therefore, focus their attention through The Pandemic is A Portal – an extraordinary short film based on Arundhati Roy’s essay in the Financial Times – which dares us to view the pandemic as a portal through which to enter a new and better world, a world in which all of the Sustainable Development Goals have been met. Pupils will then channel this focused attention into their posters, titled Think global, act local: improving life in our community after Coronavirus.
Meaningful learning is not confined to the classroom, and this is especially so with the MYP Community Day/ Project, so pupils will go on to explore ways in which to embody the IB learner profile in their various communities through active service, and reflect on those activities throughout the year as part of their Tutorial programme.
The day is divided into 3 sessions:
09:05 – 10:35
11:20 – 12:50
14:05 – 15:35
Between session 2 and 3, pupils will have an opportunity to visit the Life in Lockdown exhibition arranged by the Art department.
I/we will share lesson plans, resources and LibGuide in due course.
Having had time to recover from the experience of running the Community Day, and having had the chance to look back at what we did and achieved, the benefits to the pupils of structuring the day as we did have become clear.
It was a long day, for them and us, with the structure constrained in some ways by the facilities available at certain times – we only had computer access for pupils during session 2, so any investigating had to happen then – and the creation of the posters took a lot longer than we had anticipated. However, it was very clear that pupils had appreciated being able to discuss their own experiences of lockdown; had opened their minds to what lockdown had meant to other children around the world; and had gained a real understanding of what we might want to change after the pandemic. The thoughtful and personal responses on display in their final posters were proof of careful consideration of their own role in the circles of community in which they live and the influence they might be able to have.
In terms of FOSIL resources, different worksheets – some individual and some group – stepped them through the day, and we made use of a LibGuide to provide them with the specific websites and videos we wanted them to use for different parts of the Investigate stage. The focus of investigation for this inquiry was very much on finding and using information from within sources rather than needing to locate that information for themselves. A further resource for the Reflect stage will allow pupils to continue to reflect on the ‘pledge’ they have made as the year progresses. This will be picked up through the tutorial programme, allowing the conversation to continue in smaller groups, and will hopefully lead on to further service as action.
This reply was modified 2 months, 3 weeks ago by Lucy Breag.
Thanks, Lucy, your post reminded me that I had not yet shared the lesson plans, resources and LibGuide.
The LibGuide contains all the resources that the pupils used, as well as the lesson plans (including a printable version) and the accompanying PowerPoint presentation.
I have also included the PowerPoint presentation that Lucy produced following Community Day, which reflects how the day was structured around FOSIL and includes samples of the work that pupils produced. Please note that the photographs of pupils themselves may only be viewed and not used. Looking at the photographs in the presentation brings to mind the second part of the Galileo Educational Network’s description of inquiry, and the part that I need to turn my/ our attention to more closely:
Inquiry is based on the belief that understanding is constructed in the process of people working and conversing together as they pose and solve the problems, make discoveries and rigorously testing the discoveries that arise in the course of shared activity.
Some brief (but, hopefully, important) observations on the very successful IB MYP Community Day. First of all, the very careful design of the day enabled us to achieve several goals which I think is remarkable: 1) We introduced the idea of Community to students as part of our MYP Community project development; 2) The particular focus of the project, however, was to explore the principles of MYP Service and Actions and provide the students with some practical ideas of actions that they could fulfill throughout the current academic year (thus addressing the requirement of the MYP programme) and, of course, 3) we also introduced students to the fundamental principles of inquiry and the structure of the FOSIL framework.
I believe the day provided a very good balance of written, reflective, visual and kinesthetic activities that kept the students engaged throughout. But it was the Express stage, however, where I was particularly impressed with the students and while the quality of their group posters was nothing short of outstanding, I also noted the process of group communication that was effectively shaping the outcome. This included sharing and delegating responsibility, debating ideas and brainstorming solutions.
It was a fantastic and productive day that was equally enjoyed by all and very effectively supported by FOSIL!