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IB Middle Years Programme Coordinator

Mr. Michael Cloninger, a native of Alabama, received a B.S. degree from Jacksonville State University in Social Science, and a M.Ed. from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Prior to becoming the Middle Years Programme Coordinator, Mr. Cloninger taught Civics, World History, and Geography in the Jefferson County School System. 

Mr. Cloninger is passionate about teaching and learning and works diligently to ensure that both teachers and students are prepared to perform at the highest level. As the Middle Years Programme Coordinator, Mr. Cloninger works closely with teachers to ensure that they are aware of and implementing proven and emerging best practices. This is done through data-driven professional development, teacher observation, curriculum planning, and more. 

Outside of his roles as the MYP Coordinator, Mr. Cloninger enjoys spending time with his wife and 2 little boys, camping, hiking, mountain biking, gardening, and music collecting.

Should you have any questions regarding the JCIB Middle Years Programme (grade 6-10) please contact Mr. Cloninger via email at mcloninger@jefcoed.com.  

What is the MYP?


The MYP has been designed as a coherent and comprehensive curriculum framework that provides academic challenge and develops the life skills of students from the ages of 11 to 16. These years are a critical period in the development of young people. Success in school is closely related to personal, social and emotional well-being. At a time when students are establishing their identity and building their self-esteem, the MYP can motivate students and help them to achieve success in school and in life beyond the classroom. The programme allows students to build on their personal strengths and to embrace challenges in subjects in which they might not excel. The MYP offers students opportunities to develop their potential, to explore their own learning preferences, to take appropriate risks, and to reflect on, and develop, a strong sense of personal identity.

The MYP began as an initiative formulated by groups of practising teachers and administrators in international education who wanted to develop a curriculum for the middle years of schooling. It was intended that this curriculum would share much of the same philosophy as the DP and would prepare students for success in that programme. The first draft of the MYP curriculum was produced in 1987 when a group of practitioners created a framework that allowed for a degree of diversity. In this framework, emphasis was placed on developing the skills and attitudes, the understanding of concepts and the knowledge needed to participate in an increasingly global society.

The MYP grew out of the work and vision of practising teachers in schools. Details regarding key individuals, groups and research influences behind the development of the MYP from the first ideas in 1980 can be found in History of the Middle Years Programme (2010). 

The programme has developed significantly since its inception and will continue to do so in response to the needs of students and schools, the demands of a rapidly changing world and our changing understandings of human development and the process of learning.

Core Principles of the MYP


Approaches to Learning
Through ATL in IB programmes, students develop skills that have relevance across the curriculum that help them “learn how to learn”. ATL skills can be learned and taught, improved with practice and developed incrementally. They provide a solid foundation for learning independently and with others. ATL skills help students prepare for, and demonstrate learning through, meaningful assessment. They provide a common language that students and teachers can use to reflect on, and articulate on, the process of learning.

IB programmes identify five ATL skill categories: communication, social, self-management, research, thinking

Key and Related Concepts
Teachers use key concepts from their own subject group(s)—as well as key concepts from other subject groups—to plan disciplinary and interdisciplinary units of work. Teachers identify one key concept that drives the unit’s development.

For each unit, teachers identify one or more related concept(s) that extend(s) learning, lead(s) to deeper understanding, or offer(s) another perspective from which to understand the identified key concept(s).

Global Context
Teaching and learning in the MYP involves understanding concepts in context. Global contexts provide a common language for powerful contextual learning, identifying specific settings, events or circumstances that provide more concrete perspectives for teaching and learning. When teachers select a global context for learning, they are answering the following questions.

-Why are we engaged in this inquiry?
-Why are these concepts important?
-Why is it important for me to understand?
-Why do people care about this topic?

MYP global contexts provide common points of entry for inquiries into what it means to be internationally minded, framing a curriculum that promotes multilingualism, intercultural understanding and global engagement.
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