A bit messy

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This week I’ve been wondering how the local and global work together. I know it’s messy but in the PYP how can we balance the importance of a local focused curriculum in a world of global issues.

In the PYP the main focus is on the learner and developing learner agency. The goal is to develop agency through explicit teaching of the learner profile.  Through a concept based, inquiry driven program focused on learners, the International Baccalaureate aims to create compassionate, life-long learners who know when and how to take action with their learning (Barnard, 2016).  The International Baccalaureate and the PYP in particular is a value-laden curriculum focusing on the Learner Profile as a way to teach the core values of the PYP (International Baccalaureate Organization, 2009). By teaching an internationally value laden curriculum I think the PYP is trying to address Schwab’s commonplace of milieus. The PYP strives to be a school that regardless of size or location develops an “internationally minded person” (International Baccalaureate Organization, 2009, p 3). The International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO) does not seem to see milieus as separate or distinct. However, they see the need to develop an international student who can move between places.

One of the IBO’s standard C 2.7 says that “The written curriculum promotes students’ awareness of individual, local, national and global issues” (International Baccalaureate Organization, 2014, p. 5).  The IBO wants students to see global connections as well as local issues.  Schwab (1973) discusses the idea of milieus resting in milieus but in this regard he was highlighting the different cultures and identities within the classroom not local, national, global issues. In the local, contextualised milieu teachers are supposed to be looking at the interactions between the students, the students and their home life and the students and their community.  While it is important that we think about global context, Schwab was highlighting the importance of learning within the community, knowing who the students were as people and community members, and the cultural climate of the learners. By expanding this to offer global issues or perspectives the PYP is trying to create a more connected world. However, they fail to address the importance of understanding the world the students live in and how they live. By looking at the student’s communities and families and what might pop up first we can start to link their knowledge to the larger world.

So how should we, or is it important to focus on the local classroom issues first, or do we start off by looking at what makes us all human and making connections with the world.  Any ideas?

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