The IB Middle Years Programme (Grades 6-10)
The years of the MYP, from the ages of 11 to 16, are a critical period in the development of young people, and their success in school is closely related to their personal, social and emotional well-being. At a time when students are establishing identity and building self-esteem, the MYP provides an established framework that can motivate students and help them to achieve success. With its broad and balanced curriculum, the MYP allows students to build on personal strengths and to embrace challenges in disciplines, including subjects in which students do not excel. The MYP offers students opportunities to develop their potential, to explore their own learning preferences, to take appropriate risks, and to reflect on and develop a strong sense of personal identity. The design of the programme incorporates age-appropriate differentiation in teaching and learning from ages 11 to 16 and provides a bridge from primary education to further studies.
From the start of its development in the 1980s, the MYP has been guided by three principles that have special currency for learners in the MYP, and are inspired by the IB mission: holistic learning, intercultural awareness and communication. These have been known as the three fundamental concepts of the MYP, and provided a strong foundation on which to build the programme. They were an early attempt to establish a philosophy of international education that the IB now recognises more fully with the adoption of the IB learner profile. Holistic learning, intercultural awareness and communication are implied or a part of the IB learner profile, especially in the attributes “balanced”, “open-minded” and “communicators”.
Twenty-first century educators have continued to focus on how best to meet the needs of adolescents, who are confronted with a vast and often bewildering array of choices in a complex and rapidly changing world and have pointed to the need to provide students with skills for developing higher order thinking. These higher order thinking skills give students the opportunities to explore their expanding concerns and growing awareness in ways that develop sound judgment.
The fundamentals/guiding principles can be seen in the interplay in the inquiry cycle that encapsulates one of the ways people work together to construct meaning and make sense of the world. This constructivist approach, an interplay between asking (inquiry), doing (action) and thinking (reflection), leads towards open classrooms where different views and perspectives are valued. Young people are empowered for a lifetime of learning, both independently and in collaboration with others.