Importance of Building Common Understandings

PYP Evaluation

During PYP Evaluation cycle there are many opportunities for self-assessment and reflection of one’s practice, understanding of the programme, and of course one’s pedagogical beliefs. One of the main tools for us to do that is the PYP Self Study Questionaire that enables us to build a common, communal, understanding of the PYP Standards and Practices and mirror them against our Vision and Mission -statements, thus enabling us to engage into an agentic dialogue with our peers and colleagues.

Teachers as Change Agents

In an International School, it is very important that we engage our multinational and -lingual academic staff into a dialogue of best practices and pedagogy from early on. All teachers arrive at school with preconceptions that might or might not be a good fit with our understanding of quality education and especially inquiry-based learning. Therefore we need to instill our teachers with a growth mindset, a mindset that allows them to be risk takers and change agents. A teacher with an agentic attitude towards learning and teaching will be able to take an authentic teacher leadership mentality and will embrace the change as a positive position.

PYP Self Study as a tool for Change

As previously mentioned, PYP Self study can be used a natural provocation and pre-assessment tool for staff development through self-assessment and reflection. In KIS we have been engaged in various forms of collaboration and strategies to enable our personal and professional growth:

  • Committees
  • Workshops
  • Questionnaires
  • Action Plans
  • Rubrics
  • Evidence Collection
  • Panels
  • PD -days

All these aforementioned activities have now been collected into a report, a plan, and catalogs of evidence. Our final learning experience before submitting our evidence is one that I am most excited about: Building an understanding of how PYP Standards and Practices are connected with our PYP Unit Planners.

Single Point RubricWe are going to be using A Single Point Rubrics to assess our own planners against criteria from Standards and Practises. This will ensure that our current teaching staff will have a common vocabulary and understanding of:

  • What will the evaluation team look at as written evidence
  • How should the planner be presented in our context; eg  KIS Best Practice
  • Why we use the planner for all planning


To a PYP Coordinator, this is a golden opportunity to engage and extend our knowledge and understanding of PYP as a programme and highlight the essential elements as tools for building a conceptual framework that evolves organically around guided and open inquiry.

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