MYP History and Concepts

Like the Diploma Programme before it, the MYP began as an initiative of the International Schools Association (ISA). In the summer of 1980 International School Moshi hosted an ISA conference in Moshi at which the possibility of developing a curriculum for the middle years of schooling was first discussed and the eventual decision to undertake this task was made by ISA in 1982. It was intended that this curriculum, which became known as the International Schools Association Curriculum (ISAC), would share much of the same philosophy as the Diploma Programme and be suitable as a pre-IBO Diploma course.

The first draft of the curriculum was produced in 1987. The ISA created a framework which allowed for a degree of diversity. Emphasis was placed on developing the skills, attitudes and knowledge needed to participate in an increasingly global society.

A number of values underpin the curriculum: these are expressed as fundamental concepts of the programme and in the organization of the curriculum. The MYP grew out of the work and vision of practising teachers in schools. The IBO has not changed the original conception of the framework in any way. The programme has, however, developed significantly since 1992

The MYP within the IB continuum

The three IB programmes share many educational principles. Each programme is intended to promote the education of the whole person, emphasizing the importance of a broad and balanced education. The three programmes aim to promote:
• international understanding
• responsible citizenship
• the importance of learning how to learn, of student-centred inquiry and communication.

Academically challenging

The MYP is a coherent and comprehensive curriculum which provides a framework of academic challenge and life skills appropriate to this age-group. As part of the IBO’s continuum of programmes, the MYP naturally follows the PYP and serves as an excellent preparation for the Diploma Programme. It is not a requirement that schools adopt more than one programme. Many choose to do so, however, because of the similarity in philosophy and the coherence of their approaches.

Three fundamental concepts underpin the MYP

Intercultural Awareness
This is concerned with developing students’ attitudes, knowledge and skills as they learn about their own and others’ social and national cultures. It not only fosters tolerance and respect, but also leads to empathy and understanding.

Holistic Education
The programme emphasizes the disciplined study of traditional subject groups. However, the areas of interaction provide the MYP’s main focus for developing links between the disciplines, so that students will learn to see knowledge as an interrelated whole. Through the application of the areas of interaction, students realize that most real world problems require insights gained from a variety of disciplines, they develop the skills of inquiry and understand the similarities and differences between different approaches to human knowledge.

Intercultural, holistic and communication

The MYP stresses the central importance of communication, verbal and non-verbal, as a vehicle to realize the aims of the programme. A good command of expression in all of its forms is fundamental to learning. In most MYP subject groups, communication is a key objective and assessment criterion, as it supports understanding and allows student reflection and expression. The IBO places particular emphasis on language acquisition, which does more than promote cognitive growth: it is crucial for maintaining cultural identity, personal development and intercultural understanding.