This Monday is one of our first in-school Professional Development days and within this day there is a block of time for Heads of Dept (HoD) to run PD with their Dept. A quick poll and Start of year discussion with my team indicated that we needed to take time to continue the Articulation of our YIS PE curriculum and Monday seems the perfect opportunity to apply 2 hours of time to developing this plan.
Yokohama International School has a very unique problem for an International School – it has very limited space. A lot of the sorts of things that other schools readily make available through their PE programme are not things that we can do in ours. We are an IBO school and so we must offer a curriculum that meets the requirements of both the PYP and the MYP and we must ensure we are offering enough breadth and depth for our students to gain the wide range of experiences that all children need but also to deepen their understandings of essential conceptual topics as they mature and develop and then graduate from the school system.
I have been brainstorming this out a little and through this I have decided that the biggest questions that our team needs to answer are:
What would a finished YIS PE Curriculum look like?
What would a finished PE curriculum look like to the stakeholders in our school (for our students? PE teachers; our Curriculum Managers? our parent community? our IBO requirements?)
The plan I have at the moment is the PE Team to look at these questions together and then on our own
- Brainstorm out 5-8 questions that come to mind about the above questions generally and then
- Give each of the team the View of a stakeholder and ask them to brainstorm out another 5-8 questions from this persons perspective. The idea here is to try and keep a wide view of what our end-point is and then to narrow this down so that we can decide what things will look like. I am interested in finding out what my team thinks is the end-point and what issues we need to discuss.
- Put together our Action Plan – do we need to research? read docs? talk to PYP or MYP people? talk with other PYP/MYP school PE dept’s or share our docs with someone for discussion? Our school currently has 3 areas of focus (One School, Leadership, Service) and these are areas for checking through our PE Curriculum too along with many other pieces.
- Look at what we need to get to our end point and then map this out into blocks over the next two years. This will mean that we can then decide where we need/what we need to do this year – and have an End point for this year. And then have a plan for next year to get to our ‘End Point’.
We all know that there is no official End-point of Curriculum writing because like any cycle of design once you have something written you then reflect and make changes along the way and like any school and program, things are always bound to change and this makes the process of longer term planning challenging. I would like to do some more longer term planning with my team as it is not feasible for us to have everything documented in one year and I want to put together a longer term plan to have our curriculum documented and articulated but I am a little worried about what changes may occur in the next two years which could cause us to go back to review earlier than we would like.
I wonder what other factors are important to PE in other schools – what are the parameters that you are dealing with – amongst the bigger picture issues – for example where do you start to have depth over breadth? How do you measure the ratio of team: individual units? How long are your units – how does this get decided? Are these linked to Seasons of Sport? Tournaments? Weather? There is a lot to consider in PE that I can’t see other subjects really need to consider….
So, the last year (2014-15) we had MYP Next Chapter change to deal with which has been a massive shift for us. All new assessment and command terms and lots of change for us as we tried to deal with staying with maximum activity time and less/zero homework time and trying to create and re-write lots of assessment which has been stressful. At the same time we have spent time documenting the PYP PE curriculum and trying to work through our units and also to align some of the concepts and Learner Profile to link them to the MYP units.
The biggest hurdle that I have is that as far as I know there is nowhere that I can take my ‘completed’ documentation and check it against what is expected – I am actually really okay with this as it means that we need to be happy that what our Students are learning at YIS and that it ticks the boxes that the MYP and PYP ask of us but I do wonder if we should be spending more time checking and reading some of the curriculum documents that people/companies have been paid considerable sums of money to write in other countries – and I have done a bit of this and talked to some people who are part of this. But there is always more to know. I am excited (well you know) to feel that we as a team will be closer to knowing What our Curriculum End Point will be so that we have clear vision of where we are going, what are students are learning, and what we need to do to be (almost) completed.
Anyone doing curriculum writing or articulation who wants to share any expert advice or let me know how I can best run this meeting – I would appreciate it!