How does IB MYP enhance the traditional curriculum model?

MYP is a framework that organizes international and national standards into a consistent format. The aim is to ensure that students are not only knowledgeable about many subject areas, but also develop a genuine understanding and an ability to apply these concepts in new contexts, in preparation for further learning. National objectives and standards are the departure point to inquiry-based teaching and learning. Units begin with engaging questions that answer the questions How do I learn best? Why do I have to learn this? What is the long-term impact?

The MYP philosophy fosters intercultural awareness within units of study. As students mature and develop higher-order thinking skills, they explore the disciplines in increasing depth and realize how those disciplines are linked to each other and to local and global issues.The Middle Years Programme (MYP) is an inquiry-based, holistic programme, that aims to help students develop their personal understanding, their emerging sense of self and responsibility in their community. Students study disciplines in eight subject groups:

  • Language and Literature (first language study)
  • Language Acquisition (second and foreign language study)
  • Individual and Societies (aspects of history, geography, economics, psychology and business)
  • Mathematics
  • Science (physics, chemistry and biology)
  • Physical and Health Education
  • Arts (visual arts and music)
  • Design (digital and product design)

At the heart of the programme, students develop international-mindedness through the Service as Action programme and the Personal Project which takes place in MYP 5.

The Personal Project is the culmination of the MYP, a self-initiated project when students investigate an area of interest and design a final product.

Core values drive our programme:

Understanding

The MYP is a concept and skills-based curriculum that promotes student inquiry. The power of this lies in students being able to think critically and creatively in asking questions and, in the Sciences and Maths, designing their own testable generalisations and hypotheses. Units are set within a global context, determining the knowledge and content to be covered, but the emphasis of the teaching and learning is on key concepts. An emphasis upon conceptual understandings is important because it enables students to make sense of content and knowledge. In the age of the knowledge economy, when so much information is available at their fingertips, young people need larger conceptual awareness as a framework for building understanding.

Further to this, the programme offered at Tromsø International School focuses upon skills. The skills of multilingualism and intercultural mindedness of our Language and Literature, and Language Acquisition programmes enable our students to communicate confidently and effectively across the broadest possible range of contexts. Through Individuals and Societies, the information and media literacy that students develop gives them the critical and analytical capacity to engage with information purposefully and responsibly. The Arts and Design enable students to master creative processes, prioritising the stages of production and the attendant skills from inception to reflection, rather than on the final product. The importance of decision-making and collaboration are cultivated in the Physical and Health Education programme, enabling students to make decisions beneficial to themselves and the communities in which they live. One of the overarching strengths of the TRINT MYP is the transferability of conceptual understanding and skills, empowering students with the skills to be lifelong learners.

Identity & Diversity

The basis of understanding others is understanding the self. Our Mother Tongue programme nurtures a sense of identity through culture, as well as enabling students, who may still be acquiring academic English, to express themselves in the language in which they feel most at-home. The multilingual nature of our programme, where most students are learners of three languages, allows students access and insight into cultures beyond their own. Our language trips also offer an immersive experience for our students to experience the culture of others.

Diversity is also a key aspect of our Service as Action programme where we foster empathy in our students as they actively engage to work with others. From a lens of learning about global issues such as human rights, conflict, development, cooperation and governance, and the environment, students learn about ways in which they can act to make positive change in the world both at an international and local level. This helps to students to identify themselves as global citizens.

Passion

At Tromsø International School we encourage students to follow their individual passions. One of the ways in which this is done is through the Community Project in MYP 4 and the Personal Project in the final year of the MYP. Through the Projects, students explore an interest of their own, creating a product or outcome about which they feel individually passionate. It is an opportunity for students to draw upon their disciplinary and interdisciplinary skills in a long-term project in which they investigate, plan, act and reflect. Student learning is then celebrated and showcased at the Project Exhibition, one of the highlights of the TRINT annual calendar, as it always provides a wonderful insight into the thoughtfulness, creativity and growing independence of our middle school students.