Deciding which professional communities to participate in was relatively straight-forward. I am already a member of a couple PYP Facebook groups: PYP Workshop Leaders and PYP Coordinators. The PYP workshop leaders group is very active with 796 members and “is for PYP Workshop Leaders registered with IBEN. A place to ask questions; share resources, successes and great ideas.” This is one of my favourite groups to participate in as we share ideas and information that help us in preparing and leading workshops for the IB. Many of the resources shared I also share with my own staff or use in our in-house training. The topics range from advice for planning for workshops, to recommending resources, grouping activities, updates on the PYP programme and the different ways we are implementing the programme. It’s been a great way for me to keep up with what’s happening in the PYP, particularly given my physical isolation from the IB community.
The PYP Coordinator group is newer to me, but again is a very active group with 972 members. Both are also closed groups, meaning you must ask to become a member. For the PYP workshop leader group you must be a registered IBEN (International Baccalaureate Educator Network) workshop leader. For the PYP coordinators group you must be working at a PYP school and be, have been, or hope to be a PYP coordinator.
Additionally, the IB has recently created a new space within its webpages for PYP teachers to communicate their ideas with each other. This space is quite new and has very little traffic on it, but I will also post my thoughts and reflections to this space as well in an effort to advance the site. Additionally, this site is monitored by IB staff, so I may be able to get more concrete replies as to how the PYP is changing. I recognise I am narrowing my scope a little by communicating within a small, specific community, but there’s a reason for this. This is a time of significant change within the PYP as the IB has just completed a five year long review of the entire programme, the first of this magnitude since its inception in 1997. As such, many of us are trying to make sense of the new bits and pieces of documentation that have come out in advance of the full release of new programme guidelines (due October 2018). I think looking at these new documents and visuals through the lens of curricular conception could be extremely helpful in identifying more clearly how the PYP is changing and what questions and implementation issues we may face as curriculum coordinators.
I will use the blog-Facebook post cycle to engage with the Facebook and PYP Programme Resource Center group, meaning I will write posts on my blog about the issues I’m considering and then post the link to them on the Facebook pages, hopefully driving traffic to the blog post and prompting a conversation. At other times I will just post questions or links from other articles/blogs to the Facebook group directly.
My goal is that in addition to engaging in conversation with my PYP community and gaining new insights that way, I will also use this as an opportunity to engage in deeper reflection on the planning-instruction-assessment cycle within my own context.