These are questions that you will often hear in our classrooms – not in negative terms from our students, rather, in positive terms from our teachers. Part of the Inquiry Cycle in the PYP is for students to have the opportunity to take action. For this, there is a systematic process that we go through; we Choose, Act and Reflect.
The PYP states,
In the PYP it is believed that education must extend beyond the intellectual to include not only socially responsible attitudes but also thoughtful and appropriate action. An explicit expectation of the PYP is that successful inquiry will lead to the responsible action, initiated by the student as a result of the learning process. This action will extend the student’s learning, or it may have a wider social impact and will clearly look different within each age range. PYP schools can and should meet the challenge of offering all learners the opportunity and the power to choose to act; to decide on their actions; and to reflect on these actions in order to make a difference in and to the world…it is intended that the person taking action will grow from the experience, and that the process of taking action or not will contribute to each student establishing a personal set of values. (Making the PYP Happen p.25 & 27, International Baccalaureate Organization, 2009)
In order for any action to occur, it’s important for students to understand WHY they are learning about something, or WHY it’s important. So you will often hear our teachers asking the question, “So What?” to prompt discussion with students on WHY they may be learning something, or WHY anyone would deem it to be important. Beyond the “So What”, teachers will then probe further with, “Now What?” Once we’ve gained new knowledge, how does it make us feel? WHY would we want to do anything about it? What can you or will you do?
Currently, you can see this happening in our Grade 2 Classrooms – their inquiry is about their local community of Chestermere, why things are placed where they are, how decisions are made, and how planning affects the future. They’ve been tuning in and finding out about their community. They invited the Town of Chestermere planners in to talk about what is involved in their job, and how they make decisions. The Grade 2 classes were then given their own map of Chestermere to make their own decisions about where things should be placed. This prompted some great discussion on Twitter about the differences between the classes, and the questions that it generated
The opportunity has now been provided to the students to choose, act and then reflect on their actions – will this lead to different choices in the future? Will they then in turn act differently? And then reflect again – and the cycle continues on.
Action has also been a primary focus as our Grade 5’s continue on with their Exhibition Unit of Inquiry. Currently, students are researching their chosen issue or passion, all the while, they are being encouraged to think critically about what action they could possibly take as a result of their new learning. Want to find out all of the different forms of action our students will be taking? Make sure you follow along on their Exhibition blog http://schoolblogs.rockyview.ab.ca/pwexhibtion and plan to attend our Exhibition Showcase, coming up in just over one short month: Wednesday May 21 from 6:00-7:30pm and Thursday May 22 from 8:30-10:30am. Our students are excited to share their discoveries and the actions they will take to make a difference!