PYP – a constructivist appraoch

As the whole-school EdTech coach, I was particularly interested in the section about “ICT” (though I anticipate the name will change after the review). A constructivist classroom embraces 21st century learning which refuses to deny the world around us (the technology era) and focuses on the computational thinking skills and the 4 Cs (Creativity, Collaboration, Communication and Critical Thinking). We don’t prepare our students for the world of tomorrow but the world of today. The future is now. We have the responsibility and our students have the rights, to educate/be educated to be a collaborator, problem-solver, tinkerer, creative communicator, critical thinker, citizen of the world (offline and online), upstanders and change-makers, caring human beings and open-minded individuals who are active listeners and who do not judge without deep thinking.

For this, as adults, we are responsible to provide a safe and secure environment where the students feel comfortable, supported and valued. We need to create the conditions for inquiry by designing the space in a way that is flexible, engaging and which offer different learning modalities and grouping strategies for differentiation and personalization for learning (including gifted and talented, passion projects).

Learning in the PYP goes beyond the 4 walls of the classroom. It is organic and develop intrinsic motivation and learner’s empowerment.

The very fact that the teachers collaborate to design the learning experiences with their colleagues but also with the learners show the importance of agency in the learners (the “we” versus they and us).

The constructivist classroom involves understand the purpose of what we are learning and reflecting on the processes used to get knowledge. It engages everyone to think at an increasingly deeper level that is generative rather than superficial. There is no recipe for success in the constructivist classroom but the approach promotes inquiring and challenging ourselves to take risks and fail forward!

Also, the content is flexible and can stretch to meet the needs and wants of the learners. While the teachers plan a lot of processes, there is always elements of surprises and improvisation that allows learners voice and choice. Another important aspect is the fact that a constructivist approach is authentic rather than imagined or staged, therefore allowing learners to take ownership and make connection to real life problems or issues.

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