Adapting to a New Reality
Meaningful Teacher-Student Relationships

How are we adapting our three IB programmes so that our students can thrive at school despite new health protocols and different learning modes? Read on for an overview from our IB Coordinators.

Miranda Rose - PYP Coordinator (PreK-Grade 5)

Since we returned to school this August, our emphasis in the Elementary School has been on ensuring a sense of belonging for all our learners and to focus on student wellbeing.

Social and emotional skills and wellness are core elements of the PYP and we have allocated extra time and resources to strengthen this component of the programme for our learners. Our counsellors have been actively supporting students and teachers as they navigate new safety protocols and procedures and they have been working closely with students to build emotional literacy and social skills.

We have revised our student schedule to include extra classroom community building time daily to allow students to connect, and to develop relationships that will sustain them through the year ahead.

We have increased daily Outdoor Play and Learning (OPAL) and garden time to support student wellness with more fresh air and mask-free time. This also helps support students during more academic learning times of the day. Students are responding well to the changing environment, and our commitment to them and their needs remains at the forefront of our work.

Finally, the PYP is a student-centered programme. Teachers inquire into what their students know, can do, are interested in and are feeling. Teachers make plans in response to what they learn about and from students with the intention of meeting student needs. This year, teachers are working extra-hard to quickly understand who their learners are and what they need so they can support them appropriately regardless of the learning environment, be it regular or hybrid.

Elizabeth Swanson - MYP Coordinator (Grade 6-10)

Teachers in the MYP (grades 6-10) have been focusing on how to make the program “come alive” no matter the learning environment. Whether virtual or face-to-face, the MYP requires kids to be practitioners or “do-ers” of a subject area and teachers are finding innovative ways to make this happen.

Throughout our adoption of the MYP, we have been focusing on ensuring that there is student choice in how learning can be attained and demonstrated and our current situation has required all of us to think even more about how we can build in more choice and student voice into learning.

We are recommending that parents go through their child's Google Classroom together to see what types of learning experiences they are having in each class so far this year. More than ever, this new virtual/hybrid world is pushing us as teachers to think about learning in new ways and the MYP teachers at ASW are definitely rising to the challenges! 

Patricia Deo - Diploma Programme (Grades 11 & 12)

In response to the rapid shift to online learning last spring, and the uncertainty that the pandemic has placed on IB schools, the International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO) has implemented some adaptations for the May 2021 exam session.

The adaptations include amendments to assessment components and requirements, removal of assessment components or requirements, and/or the use of in-session mitigations that vary according to the nature of each course.

These adaptations allow ASW teachers to make adjustments to their courses based on student needs resulting from online learning last spring. Some examples of the course adjustments include additional assessment opportunities, time to practice skills that were taught in the spring, or review.

For current grade 11 students, the IBO has not announced any adaptations for their courses; for this reason, teachers are following the usual syllabus and course requirements.