Developing ATL skills through the inquiry cycle in MYP

The MYP is populated with cycles. Most prominent in From Principles into Practice (2014) is the inquiry cycle on page 10, consisting of three phases, Inquiry, Action, and Reflection. These stages are linked through arrows to show that the cycle is not sequential, but follows the individual learner’s active engagement in thinking (inquiry), doing (action) and critical cognition (reflection).

Inquiry Cycle in the IB MYP. (C) International Baccalaureate 2014
Inquiry Cycle in the IB MYP. (C) International Baccalaureate 2014. From Principles into Practice (2014), page 10.

As student progress through the MYP, they meet a number of many other cycles. The Projects Cycle in both Personal Projects and Community Projects shows the culmination of students’ learning through cyclical and iterative inquiry-based approaches in MYP.

The Projects Cycle shows the process, which students follow as they approach the independent inquiry through the Personal Project in Year 5 and the Community Project in Year 3 or 4.

Projects Cycle in IB MYP. (C) International Bacclaureate 2014.
Projects Cycle in IB MYP. (C) International Bacclaureate 2014. Projects Guide (2014), page 9.

Leading up to the Community Projects in Year 3 or 4 and the Personal Projects in Year 5 are cycles, which each subject area in MYP approaches in a subject-specific conceptual frame.

The Design Cycle in the Design subject 

The Design Cycle shows the cyclical, iterative nature of design, with arrows between and across the phases of design.

Investigating and Planning are directly linked to Inquiry in the general inquiry cycle of the MYP. Taking Action is the Action phase of the inquiry cycle; whereas Reflection remains the same for both the Design Cycle and the MYP Inquiry Cycle.

Experimental Cycle in Sciences

The Experimental Cycle in the Sciences subject shows the cyclical, iterative inquiry characterizing investigation in Sciences. Through the Experimental Cycle, students see the criteria for successful approaches to scientific inquiry.

Experimental Cycle in MYP Science. (C) International Baccalaureate (2014). Sciences Guide (2014), page 13.
Experimental Cycle in MYP Science. (C) International Baccalaureate (2014). Sciences Guide (2014), page 13.

These cycles describing inquiry in the MYP give us a possible approach to learning in the MYP. Through cyclical, iterative inquiry, students experience a coherent approach to critical thinking, principled action, and critical awareness and cognition present in reflective practices.

Recently, I came across Stephen Taylor’s interpretation of the experimental cycle. With his permission, I made a copy of the template that he created using Google Draw.

With the idea that students may approach learning in MYP through cyclical, iterative inquiry, I played with the template and co-constructed a MYP Research Cycle with Kelsey Hedrick, MYP-DP Librarian at my school. What we came up with is an initial draft of a research cycle, which shows the inquiry cycle students use as they engage in research based inquiry.

The Potential for ATL skills Development through Iterative Inquiry

Using the inquiry cycle as the framework for Approaches to Learning in the MYP has enormous potential. At the moment, teachers at my school are co-constructing cycles, which has subject-specific significance, such as the Individuals and Societies investigation cycle, similar to both the Research Cycle and the Design Cycle because of its action planning approach; and the Language and Literature inquiry cycle.

As students journey through their experiences in the MYP, each might potentially appreciate and gain mastery of the cyclical, iterative nature of inquiry through the coherent interpretation of the cycles inherent in the process-driven approaches to learning in MYP subjects. The potential for transfer of understanding, a significant element of the growth mindset embedded in the inquiry cycle, is something that MYP communities might consider and engage in their co-construction of a viable MYP.

Please join us in the conversation! What are your thoughts on the potential for ATL skills development through iterative inquiry?

Author: alavina

Cognitive Coach and author. I simplify personal power so you can use mental resources and find pathways to your goals, be more productive and feel in control every day.

2 thoughts

  1. Each cycle is unique in nature and, for this reason, each offers us a fantastic opportunity to undergo transformations in terms of learning. If understandings were not to empower us to transform our world, then there would be no point for developing new ones.
    Fantastically synthesized, Aloha!

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