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IB Middle Years Programme

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International Baccalaureate - Middle Years Programme

Northwoods Park Middle School IB


IB Learner Profile

The aim of all IB Programmes is to develop internationally minded people who, recognizing their common humanity and shared guardianship of the planet, help to create a better and more peaceful world.

The IB Learner Profile

As IB learners we strive to be: 


We nurture our curiosity, developing skills for inquiry and research. We know how to learn independently and with others. We learn with enthusiasm and sustain our love of learning throughout life. 


We develop and use conceptual understanding, exploring knowledge across a range of disciplines. We engage with issues and ideas that have local and global significance. 


We use critical and creative thinking skills to analyse and take responsible action on complex problems. We exercise initiative in making reasoned, ethical decisions. 


We express ourselves confidently and creatively in more than one language and in many ways. We collaborate effectively, listening carefully to the perspectives of other individuals and groups. 


We act with integrity and honesty, with a strong sense of fairness and justice, and with respect for the dignity and rights of people everywhere. We take responsibility for our actions and their consequences.


We critically appreciate our own cultures and personal histories, as well as the values and traditions of others. We seek and evaluate a range of points of view, and we are willing to grow from the experience. 


We show empathy, compassion and respect. We have a commitment to service, and we act to make a positive difference in the lives of others and in the world around us. 


We approach uncertainty with forethought and determination; we work independently and cooperatively to explore new ideas and innovative strategies. We are resourceful and resilient in the face of challenges and change. 


We understand the importance of balancing different aspects of our lives - intellectual, physical, and emotional - to achieve well-being for ourselves and others. We recognize our interdependence with other people and with the world in which we live.


We thoughtfully consider the world and our own ideas and experience. We work to understand our strengths and weaknesses in order to support our learning and personal development. 


Programme Model 

IB programme models highlight important shared features of an IB education.

  • Developing the attributes of the learner profile
  • Approaches to teaching and approaches to learning 
  • Age-appropriate culminating experiences
  • An organized and aligned structure of subject groups or disciplines 
  • Development of international-mindedness as a primary aim and context for learning

 IB Middle Years Programme

In the programme model for the MYP, the first ring around the student at the centre describes the features of the programme that help students develop disciplinary (and interdisciplinary) understanding.

  • Approaches to learning (ATL) - demonstrating a commitment to approaches to learning as a key component of the MYP for developing skills for learning. 
  • Approaches to teaching - emphasizing MYP pedagogy, including collaborative learning through inquiry.
  • Concepts - highlighting a concept-driven curriculum.
  • Global contexts - showing how learning best takes place in context.

The second ring describes some important outcomes of the programme.

  • Inquiry-based learning may result in student-initiated action, which may involve service within the community.
  • The MYP culminates in the personal project (for students in MYP year 5) or the community project (for students in MYP years 3 or 4). 

The third ring describes the MYP's broad and balanced curriculum. 

  • The MYP organizes teaching and learning through eight subject groups: language and literature, language acquisition, individuals and societies, sciences, mathematics, arts, physical and health education, and design.
  • In many cases, discrete or integrated disciplines may be taught and assessed within a subject group: for example, in history or geography within the individuals and societies subject group; biology, chemistry or physics within the sciences subject group. 
  • The distinction between subject groups blurs to indicate the interdisciplinary nature of the MYP. The subject groups are connected through global contexts and key concepts. 


Teaching and learning in the IB

Teaching and learning in the IB grows from an understanding of education that celebrates the many ways people work together to construct meaning and make sense of the world. Represented as the interplay between asking (inquiry), doing (action) and thinking (reflection), this constructivist approach leads towards open classrooms where different views and perspectives are valued. An IB education empowers young people for a lifetime of learning, both independently and in collaboration with others. It prepares a community of learners to engage with complex global challenges through a dynamic educational experience framed by inquiry, action and reflection. 

Inquiry, Action, Reflection


Sustained inquiry frames the written, taught and assessed curriculum in IB programmes. IB programmes feature structured inquiry, drawing from established bodies of knowledge and complex problems. In this approach, prior knowledge and experience establish the basis for new learning, and students' own curiosity, together with careful curriculum design, provide the most effective stimulus for learning that is engaging, relevant, challenging and significant. 


Principled action, as both a strategy and an outcome, represents the IB's commitment to teaching and learning through practical, real-world experience. IB learners act at home, as well as in classrooms, schools, communities and the broader world. Action involves learning by doing, enhancing learning about self and others. IB World Schools value action that encompasses a concern for integrity and honesty, as well as a strong sense of fairness that respects the dignity of individuals and groups. 

Challenging learning environments help students to develop the imagination and motivation they require in order to meet their own needs and the needs of others. Principled action means making responsible choices, sometimes including decisions not to act. Individuals, organizations and communities can engage in principled action when they explore the ethical dimensions of personal and global challenges. Action in IB programmes may involve service learning, advocacy and educating one's self and others.


Critical reflection is the process by which curiosity and experience can lead to deeper understanding. Learners must become critically aware of the way they use evidence, methods and conclusions. Reflection also involves being conscious of potential bias and inaccuracy in their own work and in the work of others. 

An IB education fosters creativity and imagination. It offers students opportunities for considering the nature of human thought and for developing the skills and commitments necessary not only to recall information but also to analyse one's own thinking and effort in terms of the products and performances that grown from them.

Driven by inquiry, action and reflection, IB programmes aim to develop a range of skills and dispositions that help the students effectively manage and evaluate their own learning. Among these essential approaches to learning are competencies for research, critical and creative thinking, collaboration, communication, managing information and self-assessment. 


IB philosophy in the MYP

This philosophy, framed in What is an IB education? (2013), is expressed through all aspects of the MYP. The programme has been developed with developmentally appropriate attention to: 

  • conceptual understanding
  • teaching and learning in context
  • approaches to learning (ATL)
  • service as action (community service)
  • language and identity 
  • learning diversity and inclusion.


Approaches to learning (ATL)

Through approaches to learning (ATL) in IB programmes, students develop skills that have relevance across the curriculum that help them "learn how to learn". ATL skills can be learned and taught, improved with practice and developed incrementally. They provide a solid foundation for learning independently and with others. ATL skills help students prepare for, and demonstrate learning through, meaningful assessment. They provide a common language that students and teachers can use to reflect on, and articulate on, the process of learning. 

IB programmed identify five ATL skill categories, expanded into developmentally appropriate skill clusters. 

Approaches to Learning

The focus of ATL in the MYP is on helping students to develop the self-knowledge and skills they need to enjoy a lifetime of learning. ATL skills empower students to succeed in meeting the challenging objectives of MYP subject groups and prepare them for further success in rigorous academic programmes like the DP and the IBCC. 

In the MYP, ATL encompasses both general and discipline-specific skills. Many ATL skills are applicable to all MYP subject groups; these general "tools for learning" can be tailored to meet the specific needs of students and schools. In order to develop ATL skills that facilitate effective and efficient learning, students need models, clear expectations, developmental benchmarks (or targets) and multiple opportunities to practise. While ATL skills are not formally assessed in the MYP, they contribute to students' achievement in all subject groups. Teachers should provide students with regular, specific feedback on the development of ATL skills though learning engagements and that provide formative assessment. 

The most effective way to develop ATL is through ongoing, process-focused disciplinary and interdisciplinary teaching and learning. Teachers can use a wide range of content, developed through MYP key and related concepts and global contexts, as a vehicle for teaching effective learning strategies. Likewise, ATL skills can be powerful tools for exploring significant content. This dual focus (content and process, knowledge and skills) promotes student engagement, deep understanding, transfer of skills and academic success.

All teachers in MYP schools are responsible for integrating and explicitly teaching ATL skills. 

Over time, students should develop clear and sophisticated understandings of how they learn best and how they can evaluate the effectiveness of their learning. This kind of self-regulated (independent and autonomous) learning helps students:

  • reflect purposefully on their learning (metacognition)
  • understand the diversity of human learning needs
  • evaluate and provide evidence of their learning
  • meet MYP subject group aims and objectives 
  • share responsibility for creating productive, cooperative and safe learning environments
  • develop the confidence to try new strategies and explore new concepts and contexts for learning
  • prepare for further study and responsible participation in local and global communities. 

ATL skills are informed by, and support the development of, the attributes of the IB learner profile.