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Blog: Wednesday, September 19th, 2018

Collaboration…MYP Style

It is well known among educators that collaboration is a key element to successful teaching. No matter the grade or size of school, teachers seek to find others with whom they can plan units and lessons, discuss assessment techniques, and brainstorm differentiation strategies.

This collegial collaboration is taken to the next level at Abbotsford Middle School. As a member of the IB Middle Years Programme (MYP), Abby Middle teachers are held to the standards outlined in the IB Principles of Practice – an umbrella of expectations for IB schools world-wide. Among these expectations is the mandate for structured and systematic collaboration, including purposeful planning and meeting minutes. All of this stems from the recognition of just how imperative it is for teachers to plan together – both horizontally with pod partners, and vertically with subject-area colleagues throughout the grades. In addition, collaborative groups work together to develop standardized assessment practices. Not only should assessment methods be consistent throughout the school, but a student assessed one way in Abbotsford, should be similarly assessed at any MYP school throughout the world. That requires a phenomenal amount of collaborative discussion!

So, what does this look like in practice? At Abby Middle we have created Collaboration Days, on (usually) alternate Thursdays. These planned, precious half hour blocks first thing in the morning allow teachers to meet as partners or small groups to plan, review assessment practices, and give feedback to each other regarding the MYP framework and BC curriculum. Students are welcome at the school, and supervised space is provided for them to work (collaboratively if they choose!) on projects or assignments of their own. This past Thursday was our first Collaboration Day of the year. While teachers met in pre-planned groups, support staff and administrators mingled with the students and had the opportunity to make connections with those needing extra support. It will be exciting to see how these days evolve over the year.

Collaboration is the foundation of the MYP structure, and it allows teachers to model the practice of lifetime learning, communication, and striving to be better every day. This school-wide enthusiasm is why Abbotsford Middle School is a tremendous place to be!

Vice-Principal, Abbotsford Middle School