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Approaches to Learning

The MYP extends IB approaches to learning (ATL) skills categories into 10 developmentally appropriate clusters. This framework provides common ground from which schools can develop their own ATL planning based on MYP units, student needs, and local circumstances and requirements.

ATL skills are often interconnected. Individual skills and skills clusters frequently overlap and may be relevant to more than one skill category.

ATL skill categories MYP ATL skill clusters
Communication I. Communication
Social II. Collaboration
Self-management III. Organization
IV. Affective
V. Reflection
Research VI. Information literacy
VII. Media literacy
Thinking VIII. Critical thinking
IX. Creative thinking
X. Transfer

Some of the key questions to be answered by students with respect to ATL skills include the following.

What are my present skills in this area and what evidence do I have of my development?
What skills can I improve?
What new skills can I learn?
When specific ATL skills become an explicit focus for teaching and learning, students can begin to take responsibility for their own development. Over time, students can identify themselves and their competence in any learning strategy using terms like the following.

Novice/beginning—students are introduced to the skill, and can watch others performing it (observation)
Learner/developing—students copy others who use the skill and use the skill with scaffolding and guidance (emulation)
Practitioner/using—students employ the skill confidently and effectively (demonstration)
Expert/sharing—students can show others how to use the skill and accurately assess how effectively the skill is used (self-regulation)
A concept-driven curriculum that uses ATL skills effectively enables all students to become stronger, more self-regulated learners.


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