Friday, October 1, 2010

"Let's use the computer to find things out" - The PYP Attitude Curiosity

The aim of the PYP is to create a transdisciplinary curriculum that is engaging, relevant, significant and challenging for all learners in the 3-12 age range (Making the PYP Happen).  Curriculum in the PYP is made up of three interrelated components that are expressed as questions:

  • What do we want to learn? - this is the written curriculum of the PYP and deals with identifying what is worth knowing.
  • How best will be learn? - this is the taught curriculum and focuses on good classroom practice.
  • How will we know what we have learned? - this is the assessed curriculum and provides feedback on the learning process.
The PYP aims for a balance between the acquisition of knowledge, the development of skills, understanding of concepts, demonstrating positive attitudes and taking responsible action.  Knowledge, concepts, skills, attitudes and action are the 5 essential elements of the written curriculum.

Attitudes are the expression of values and beliefs, feelings about learning, the environment and people.  Teachers who are not familiar with the IB are sometimes uncomfortable with this being a values-laded curriculum.  However having been in IB schools for the past 23 years, I see the attitudes as one of the strengths of the 3 IB programmes, which aims to promote international mindedness.  The PYP explains why attitudes are included in the essential elements:

While recognizing the importance of knowledge, concepts and skills, these alone do not make an internationally minded person. It is vital that there is also focus on the development of personal attitudes towards people, towards the environment and towards learning, attitudes that contribute to the well-being of the individual and of the group
I have written in previous posts about how the IB Learner Profile is applicable to everyone in an IB school:  students, teachers, administrators and parents.  The attitudes are also relevant to all and should be modelled by the adults in order to support the students in reflecting and in developing their own values.  In every PYP classroom at our school the attitudes are prominently displayed and discussed openly and explicitly with the students.  Our teachers discuss how to promote the attitudes during the collaborative planning meetings so that they form part of the learning experiences and the assessments.

Curiosity is one of the PYP attitudes.  The PYP defines curiosity as:

Being curious about the nature of learning, about the world, its people and cultures.
In IT lessons we are often approached by curious students with questions about their units of inquiry and we teach the students good searching strategies so that they can use the computer to find things out.  

Today I was reading a guest blog post by Reanne Maskart, an 11th Grader who was writing about how inspired she has been by some of her teachers and classes.  She started her post with the following quotation: 
You can teach a student a lesson for a day; but if you can teach him to learn by creating curiosity, he will continue the learning process as long as he lives. ~Clay P. Bedford
While this 11th Grader is obviously not in the PYP programme she has clearly appreciated the value of being curious and about how this leads to a hunger for knowledge, which in turn leads to true learning.

Photo Credit:  What's going on there?   by Giane Portal


  1. What a beautiful quote! That really is the heart of a curious, life long learner isn't it? I agree, attitudes are important and so often ignored by schools and curriculums. It is fantastic that the IB PYP programme has made such a concerted effort to include them as a vital part of education and nurturing the whole child.

  2. Thank you so much for the mention! :D
    Btw, read your blog- I obviously agree totally and hope that you will reach success with it!
    ~Reanne Maskart

  3. I wish you had written some more about how to teach students to be curiuos. I am currently reading all your blogposts and finding it incredible!!!