Establishing an ATL culture

How do we establish an ATL culture in our school?

The IB approaches to teaching and learning are central to delivering on the IB mission. If IB schools are committed to nurturing compassionate lifelong learners who have a passion to change the world for the better they recognize that how teachers teach and how students learn needs to be focused on this goal. Subject disciplines are important but so also are the ways in which we teach these subjects and the learning skills which we try to develop. So how do we establish an ATL culture within our school? What is the role of the pedagogical leader - including IB Coordinators - in this?

Suggestions from PYP teachers

The following suggestions were provided by a group of PYP teachers during a workshop forcused opn approaches to learning skills:

  • Audit (review) development and student application of ATL skills – do this collaboratively | map them vertically and horizontally across the curriculum
  • Explain the WHY? – developing skills in order to develop agency (learn how to learn) and succeed in and out of school
  • Place them at heart of classroom culture – i.e. it’s the way we learn and do things – set aside time for the development and nurturing of these skills (they won’t happen accidentally). One way of doing this is to set up essential agreements and routines around the ATL.
  • Identify clearly the skill(s) being taught
  • Provide opportunities for both explicit and implicit teaching and learning of skills: “ Implicit opportunities allow students to practice and refine skills in meaningful contexts whereas explicit opportunities allows teachers to introduce, model and guide the use of these skills.”
  • Model what the skill looks like, when successfully practiced.
  • Be intentional – providing opportunities for students to practice the skill and gain mastery.
  • Develop these skills through their transfer and use in real life applications – i.e. use the skills.
  • Give feedback on development of ATLs – some schools build this into their reporting to parents
  • Acknowledge these are skills for life – therefore involve parents: “Some schools have small workshops with parents to familiarize them with the strategies, some schools invite parents in for an "open night" where students, teachers and parents can discuss school home partnerships and what that looks like for language learning; some schools send how "do with your child" tips and tricks; others make little insight videos.”
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