At Genius School, we encourage a culture of collaboration, which is required for the PYP curriculum to flourish. This is clearly reflected in the collaborative planning process which focuses on using the written curriculum to suggest central ideas (concept based). Whether teaching goes on within or outside the programme of inquiry, it should be about the students' understanding of a central idea, wherever possible and reasonable.These requirements ensure that students inquire into, and learn about, globally significant issues in the context of units of inquiry, each of which addresses a central idea relevant to a particular transdisciplinary theme. These units collectively constitute the school’s programme of inquiry, providing a scaffold for the development of international-mindedness.
IBPYP curriculum is a transdisciplinary. It is engaging, relevant, challenging and significant for learners in the 3–12 age range. PYP curriculum emerges as comprising three interrelated components. The written curriculum identifies what is worth knowing for students. When developing the written curriculum in their schools, teachers and administrators need to consider the transdisciplinary themesand the subject-specific knowledge, concepts and skills. In keeping with the PYP commitment to inquiry, these three components are expressed in the form of the following three open-ended questions, each of which compels teachers to think deeply about their own practice with regard to student learning. Presenting the questions in this form prompts teachers to present them in a similar way to students, providing an opportunity to make them aware of the curriculum framework and of the uniqueness of the PYP, and directly engaging them in thinking about their own learning.
The central idea is written in one sentence that expresses concisely an enduring understanding. Each central idea support students’ understanding of the particular transdisciplinary theme as it is connected to, and challenges and extends students’ prior knowledge. The Central ideas are globally significant and have relevance to students in all cultures and contexts, offering students the opportunity to explore commonalities of human experience as framed by the description of the transdisciplinary theme. Each central idea is written so as to promote conceptual development supported by the PYP key concepts identified for the unit of inquiry. It has a conceptual underpinning that will help students develop their ability to think conceptually.
The inquiry is an approach to learning that involves a process of exploring the natural or material world, that leads to asking questions and making discoveries in the search for new understanding. Research suggests that using inquiry-based learning with students can help them become more creative, more positive and more independent. This is true for all students, including those with special needs who require more individual attention during the process. Inquiry-based learning is a process where students are involved in their learning, formulate questions, investigate widely and then build new understandings, meanings, and knowledge. That knowledge is new to the students and may be used to answer a question, to develop s solutions, or to support a position or point of view. The knowledge is usually presented to others and may result in some sort of action.
Inquiry, interpreted in the broadest sense, is the process initiated by the students or the teacher that moves the students from their current level of understanding to a new and deeper level of understanding.
This can mean:
1. exploring, wondering and questioning
2. experimenting and playing with possibilities
3. making connections between previous learning and current learning
4. making predictions and acting purposefully to see what happens
5. collecting data and reporting findings
6. clarifying existing ideas and reappraising perceptions of events
7. deepening understanding through the application of a concept
8. making and testing theories
9. researching and seeking information
10. taking and defending a position
11. solving problems in a variety of ways
Kath Murdoch's 'phases of inquiry' (see Murdoch's website) has inspired the development of an 'inquiry' cycle for teaching and learning through inquiry. While there are many variations of this cycle, they all feature the same broad elements: