- Service and Action
- Individuals and Societies
- Language Acquisition
Adolescents are confronted with a vast and often bewildering array of choices. The MYP is designed to provide students with the values and opportunities that will enable them to develop sound judgements.
From its beginning, the MYP was guided by three principles that have had special currency for learners aged 11–16, inspired by the IB mission: holistic learning, intercultural awareness and communication.
These fundamental concepts of the International Baccalaureate’s Middle Years Programme provided a strong foundation for teaching and learning in the MYP. They represent an early attempt to establish a philosophy of international education that the IB now recognizes more fully with the adoption of the IB learner profile across the IB continuum.
Holistic learning, intercultural awareness and communication are implied in or are a part of the IB learner profile, especially in the attributes “balanced”, “open-minded” and “communicators”.
The MYP promotes the education of the whole person, emphasizing intellectual, personal, emotional and social growth through all domains of knowledge. By focusing on the dynamic combination of knowledge, skills, independent critical and creative thought and international-mindedness, the MYP aims to educate the whole person for a life of active, responsible citizenship. Underlying the MYP programme is the concept of education of the whole person as a lifelong process. The learner profile is a profile of the whole person as a lifelong learner.
At VIS all staff, students and parents are recognised as learners. We are all striving for our actions and characteristics to reflect the IB learner profile. Collaboratively we work towards supporting the social, emotional, academic and physical development of all members of our community.
The curriculum at Vientiane International School follows the framework provided by the International Baccalaureate’s Middle Years Programme. This programme is offered to students in Grade 6-10 and shapes the learning and teaching that caters and all students. The MYP addresses a wide range of learning styles, involves all students in their own unique learning processes, and gives the students a standard, internationally accepted foundation of knowledge. The MYP is a comprehensive programme of academic challenge and life skills appropriate to this age group that prepares learners for the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme.
During the middle years students move through a journey from early puberty to mid-adolescence, which is a crucial period of personal, social and intellectual development, of uncertainty and questioning. The MYP is designed to guide students in their search for a sense of place in their natural and social environments through the process of inquiry.
The programme model of the MYP places the learner at its centre. This emphasizes the IB’s belief in educating the whole person, and placing importance on student inquiry. The MYP offers an educational programme that helps students develop the knowledge, attitudes and skills they need to participate actively and responsibly in a changing and increasingly interrelated world. Learning how to learn and how to evaluate information is as important as the content of the disciplines themselves.
The MYP provides a thorough study of the various disciplines, while emphasising the importance of their interrelatedness. This is known as a holistic view of learning. This perspective asks the student to consider issues and problems in their widest scope and to realize that good solutions often come from knowledge and understanding drawn from many sources. Opportunities for students to provide evidence of their understandings are provided through the personal project and community and service activities.
Students learn to think critically in order to solve authentic problems. This is why we focus on helping students recognise relationships between school subjects – and to combine relevant knowledge from different subjects and the real world.
The MYP provides students with a sound preparation for further studies (such as the IB Diploma Programme) and to develop lifelong learning skills and attitudes. Through engagement with the curriculum content in real-world contexts, opportunities will arise for students to develop and question their own set of personal values.
Mathematics involves understanding logical relationships. Inductive and deductive problem-solving skills are developed and investigative work allows students to share the excitement of mathematical discovery. Practical applications of mathematics in the world today are also explored. The subject is taught with a unified approach where students are exposed to the range of topics covered in the IBMYP programme, that is; number, algebra, geometry and trigonometry, statistics and probability and discrete mathematics. Skills involving technology, especially the use of graphic calculators, are developed without losing sight of enhancing those in mental arithmetic and written communication. There is a spiral progression both in the level of difficulty and in the addition of skills covered.
Overall, mathematics expects all students to appreciate the beauty and usefulness of mathematics as a remarkable cultural and intellectual legacy of humankind, and as a valuable instrument for social and economic change in society.
Science and its methods of investigation offer a way of learning through inquiry that can contributes to the development of analytical, creative and critical ways of thinking. Science emphasizes the role of inquiry and encourages the development of not only scientific inquiry skills but also transferable thinking skills.
Through science students will develop inquiring minds and curiosity about science and the natural world. They will acquire knowledge, understandings and skills of scientific inquiry to design and carry out scientific investigations, evaluate scientific evidence to solve problems and make informed decisions in scientific contexts.
The students will be able to communicate scientific ideas, arguments and practical experiences accurately in a variety of ways, and appreciate the benefits and limitations of science and its application in technological developments.
They will also understand the international nature of science and the interdependence of science, technology and society. Along with developing attitudes and develop values of honesty and respect for themselves, others, and their shared environment.
In MYP Arts students have the opportunity to function as artists, as well as learners of the arts. Artists are curious. By developing curiosity about themselves, others and the world, students become effective learners, inquirers and creative problem solvers. Students develop in the arts through creating, performing and presenting arts in a way that engage and convey feelings, experiences and ideas. It is through this practice that students acquire new skills and master those skills developed in prior learning.
Development in the arts is a dynamic process and not necessarily linear. The student moves freely through a creative process towards deeper understanding. MYP Arts values the process of creating artwork and the point of realization; the two elements combined tell us what students have experienced, learned and attempted to convey. In MYP Arts the four objectives have equal importance and value.
As students progress through the MYP Arts programme at VIS they experience and learn through visual and performing arts courses.
MYP Design challenges all students to apply practical and creative thinking skills to solve design problems; encourages students to explore the role of design in both historical and contemporary contexts; and raises awareness of their responsibilities when making design decisions and taking action.
Inquiry and problem solving are at the heart of the subject group. MYP Design requires the use of the design cycle as a tool, which provides the methodology used to structure the inquiry and analysis of problems, the development of feasible solutions and the testing and evaluation of the solution.
The VIS Design program enables students to develop not only practical skills but also strategies for creative and critical thinking.
Physical and Health Education has a unique and significant contribution to make to education, and plays an especially important role within the curriculum at VIS, as it contributes to the whole development of the individual. It is concerned with more than just participating in sports and games and aims to encourage the development of “intelligent performers” and to encourage students to understand the importance of a balanced, healthy lifestyle. Through Physical and Health Education students develop knowledge, critical thinking and reflection skills, and a sense of responsibility, as well as interpersonal and self-motivational skills. This in turn encourages students to make choices that will contribute to long-term healthy living.
Physical and Health Education provides a unique perspective of learning through the physical experiences, which greatly contributes to students’ approaches to learning (ATL) skills, and is transferable across other subject groups. Students are challenged by a course that is mainly practical and taught and learned through the physical.
Language and Literature
Language is the basic tool of communication, enabling the student to understand and to be understood, and to establish the student’s own identity. Language is also the avenue by which the student gains access to literature and culture.
MYP Language A emphasizes listening, viewing, speaking, reading and writing skills, as well as the study of literature that encompasses a variety of periods and genres. Language A is taught in English, Laos and in other Mother Tongues when available. Learners of English as another Language, will be supported through high or low levels of English support depending on their levels of proficiency.
Service and Action
Service is an integral part of the MYP, present not only in the curriculum, but also in activities outside of the classroom. Service has always been a shared value of the IB community. IB learners strive to be caring members of the community who demonstrate a personal commitment to service, and act to make a positive difference to the lives of others and to the environment.
Action (learning by doing and experiencing) is a key component of the MYP. It is an element of the programme in which there is an expectation that successful inquiry will lead to responsible action.
At Vientiane International School all MYP students participate in Service and Action. To show this, students need to supply evidence that they have met the learning outcomes. These outcomes are different to assessment grades in that they focus on the development of the student in relation to Service and Action are designed to ensure students are prepared for CAS (creativity, action service) in the Diploma Programme (DP).
The following learning outcomes are used to assess student involvement in service and action in the MYP:
1. Become more aware of their own strengths and areas for growth
Students are able to see themselves as individuals with various skills and abilities, some more developed than others, and understand that they can make choices about how they wish to move forward. Students are able to make connections as to how their own strengths or areas of growth can benefit the community.
2. undertake challenges that develop new skills
A new challenge may be an unfamiliar activity, or an extension to an existing one. This can be either an action or service activity.
3. discuss, evaluate and plan student-initiated activities
Planning and initiation will often be in collaboration with others. It can be shown in activities that are part of larger projects, such as ongoing school activities in the local community, as well as in small student-led activities.
4. persevere in action
This implies attending regularly and accepting a share of the responsibility for dealing with problems that arise in the course of activities.
5. work collaboratively with others
Collaboration can be shown in many different activities, such as team sports, playing music in a band, or helping in a kindergarten. As a part of collaboration, students should actively seek help from others before initiating an activity. This will also include meeting with advisors to discuss and seek approval for any activity that takes place outside of school and discussing proposals with family members and fellow students.
6. develop international-mindedness through global engagement, multilingualism and intercultural understanding
International-mindedness relies on the development of learning environments that value the world as the broadest context for learning.
7. consider the ethical implications of their actions
Ethical decisions arise in almost any service and action activity (for example, on the sports field, in musical composition, in relationships with others involved in service activities).
Types of Activities
There are two types of activities that students will undertake:
Action activities are those undertaken by a student in order to better themselves. The purpose of these activities is for students to challenge themselves to participate in something new, to practice or enhance a skill or to promote healthy living by keeping active.
Action activities should take place outside of the regular school day and can include private lessons, parent taught skills, recreational pursuits and sporting or any other extracurricular or after school activity. Skills learned in regular classes are not considered action activities.
These activities can include the practicing or enhancing of a skill or talent, however, the activity should be in a structured environment. The key here is that the student challenges themselves, so playing basketball with friends for an hour after school for one day a week is not considered an action activity. Playing basketball with the school MRISA team or as an after school activity (ASA) would be considered an action activity because there is structured training and students are actively learning new skills.
2. ServiceService activities are performed for a group or individual in the community without reward, personal benefit or payment. These activities can take place in and outside of the school, however, should not be part of your normal class units/learning experiences and should be completed in your own time, e.g. lunchtime, after school or on the weekend. In addition, Year 9 and 10 students are required to participate in at least one service activity outside of the school
Individuals and Societies
MYP individuals and societies encourages learners to respect and understand the world around them and equips them with the necessary skills to inquire into historical, contemporary, geographical, political, social, economic, religious, technological and cultural factors that have an impact on individuals, societies and environments. It encourages learners, both students and teachers, to consider local and global contexts.
In the MYP at VIS the subject Integrated Humanities is tought in the Individuals and Societies group.
The aims of MYP individuals and societies are to encourage and enable students to appreciate human and environmental commonalities and diversity and understand the interactions and interdependence of individuals, societies and the environment. The subject seeks to provide students with understanding about how both environmental and human systems operate and evolve in order to identify and develop concern for the well-being of human communities and the natural environment. MYP individuals and societies also seeks to encourage and enable students to act as responsible citizens of local and global communities and develop inquiry skills that lead towards conceptual understandings of the relationships between individuals, societies and the environments in which they live.
Studying an additional modern language provides means of communicating with another linguistic community and creates a gateway to the intercultural understanding. Language B not only fosters communication skills and nurtures an appreciation of other cultures, it also increases the self-knowledge of the students and their knowledge of the world, and guides them to create links to the world around them.
Language B is offered, at different levels, in French, Chinese and English.
Students in MYP Language B Phase 1 and 2 are Emergent communicators, they understand and respond to simple spoken and written texts. Phase 1 provides a course to students who have no prior knowledge of the language B.
In Phase 3 and Phase 4, students are Capable communicators. They are able to understand and respond to a limited variety of spoken and written texts. They can understand and interprete specific information, draw conclusions and recognize implied opinions and attitudes in oral and written texts
Students in phase 5 and phase 6 are Proficient communicators. They are able to evaluate, analyse information, draw conclusions and make inferences. They demonstrate critical-thinking and literacy skills.