Independent Inquiries and Skills for Life - PYP Exhibition 2021
Wendy Abernethy - Dean of Learning (E-6)
A wonderful thing about teaching and learning alongside Junior School staff and students is knowing that everything we do is equipping the girls for their future Year 6 PYP Exhibition, the culminating experience of the Primary Years Programme. What does this teaching and learning look like? Students are explicitly taught and given authentic opportunities to use different approaches to learning. They gain deep knowledge across the 6 transdisciplinary themes and learn to live out the attributes of the PYP Learner Profile, predispositions that will serve them well throughout life.
For the PYP Exhibition this year, our Year 6 girls each completed their own inquiry into an issue or opportunity of personal relevance to them. This year the Exhibition happened entirely online, meaning that some unique technological and communication-based challenges were encountered. These challenges were met with courage and positivity as Year 6 teachers and teacher mentors expertly provided guidance and reassurance throughout the complex process. Tenacity and grit were harnessed as the girls worked to identify concepts and related concepts connected to their big idea. They wrote their own central idea, a true statement, free of value judgments which incorporates two related concepts. This is no easy task! They pursued two chosen lines of inquiry to direct their research, and also investigated one shared line of inquiry about forms of creative expression and persuasive devices. A key part of the Exhibition process was for students to ideate and make a creatively expressive piece, such as an artwork, poem, or song, designed to change the mind of an audience about their chosen issue. Even though all this all occurred at home in 2021, with students sourcing their own materials and managing their time to meet a final deadline, the results were worth celebrating.
Along the way, many valuable skills were developed including:
Using a conceptual lens to view issues
Researching using a variety of sources
Applying ethical referencing practices
Employing techniques for writing effective survey and interview questions
Interpreting and presenting data and research in creative and coherent ways
Incorporating images and recorded narration within a PowerPoint presentation
Utilising technology in a variety of ways
Managing time to meet goals
Reflecting deeply on the process and knowledge gained
The final experience, Tara Exhibition World Tour took place in online class meetings in Week 2. Prior to the World Tour, each class was allocated three or four Year 6 students. Girls from ELC to Year 5 viewed their allocated Year 6 narrated PowerPoint presentations and creative expression pieces. From here, they generated questions to ask the Year 6 students about their research findings, expressive piece or the inquiry process. During the World Tour, the discussions were rich and interesting. The Year 6 students are to be commended for their mature approach to answering the varied and thoughtful questions asked by their audience.
Mr Baker, Miss MacAskill and all the teachers who acted as mentors for PYP Exhibition 2021 humbly showed and shared their dedication, patience, adaptability, and expertise throughout the process. It was not an easy task to bring PYP Exhibition to fruition in a remote learning context, but there were many things gained. Congratulations to the Year 6 girls who worked consistently to learn new skills, pose better questions, communicate more clearly, act on feedback and meet the many deadlines.