The multi-dimensional MYP
I believe that the IB Middle Years Programme (MYP) is the best middle years programme available in our current global society. Whilst MYP students study a range of traditional subjects much like other teenagers, the MYP has a third dimension: providing students with the skills they need to integrate into the modern world. In a recent ACS Egham student survey, one student stated that: ‘The IB (MYP) is a lot more well-rounded, teaching about many different ways to think and learn rather than just memorising facts.’
The recent Personal Project Presentation Evening demonstrated this dimension of the programme. As the culmination of the MYP, each Grade 10 student completes a project individually designed and inspired by their own passions and interests over a period of six months. Independently inquiring and researching, students are able to apply the skills and knowledge that they have acquired across all subjects throughout the programme.
Many projects require information and data that can’t be found solely in books or online. Often our students have to create their own research resources; carrying out their own experiments and interviews, creating websites and ‘vlogs’ (video blogs), some even creating their own businesses and travelling to other countries to form what is often very sophisticated, impressive research.
Developing both their analytical and communication skills, the independent research that forms the Personal Project is not only invaluable preparation for other extended projects students will experience later in their academic lives, but it is also an impressive accomplishment for CVs and university applications. It’s very rare for a 16 year old to have created a project of such significance that requires such high levels of independent research, time management and creativity.
As an international school, we see a range of Personal Projects each year that engage with the international community. One student this year used his Personal Project to introduce Sepak Takraw, a Malaysian minority sport, into the school. This sport is now being played in electives and at lunchtimes. Another student created an original painting in order to express the true cultural identity of her native Russia, and another donated sports equipment to an underprivileged community school in India and filmed a documentary about the process. Service to the community is another popular theme each year, highlighting how the MYP helps to engage students with real-life problems and solutions, encouraging a broader understanding of the world.
In terms of middle years education in a 21st century global society, the MYP is very close to what we need, as it equips young people with invaluable skills that they will use across any educational system and their future lives. I’m looking forward to seeing what our talented MYP students will achieve as they continue with the IBDP and beyond!