here were many aspects of change, program and school development as we travelled the road to PYP Accreditation, I share a small slice in this article.
In 2012 Sekolah YPJ, Kuala Kencana, Papua, became an IB PYP Candidate School and began its unlikely journey as an Indonesian National School to become a fully accredited IB PYP School. Unlikely because we were compelled to deliver the Indonesian National Curriculum, all our teaching staff are Indonesian teachers with no International or PYP experience and the language of instruction is Bahasa Indonesia. Traditional content and pedagogies were the norm, one could say a fixed mindset, and the concepts of homeroom teachers and inquiry based learning, unfamiliar. It was a very ambitious goal requiring an enormous amount of change. Was a marriage, a union, a fusion between these two disparate approaches to education possible? It seemed akin to mixing oil and water, but we took the positive approach of looking for possibilities, connections and solutions rather than getting caught up in the potential trap of “impossibilities”. We resolved to “Make the PYP Happen” in our school.
At every turn there was new learning, new language, adaptation and challenge. Ongoing and consistent professional development and a team approach were key ingredients. A willingness to embrace change was an essential component to building capacity for all staff. But even small changes can be confronting and we were embarking on large scale changes in many facets of teaching and learning, leadership and school organisation. To facilitate such change, developing a sense of partnership, trust and collaboration cannot be given enough emphasis. A team of Expat educators worked alongside the elementary (SD) teaching and leadership teams to develop a plan of action, organise and present ongoing professional development workshops about aspects of the PYP, build teamwork at various levels and develop a culture of collaboration. It has been a very steep learning curve for all, a curve we continue on, albeit more gradual now.
In terms of program we began with the National Curriculum 2006 with the Kompetensi Inti, Kompetensi Dasar, set subjects, set amounts of time per subject and so on, quite a prescription. There were no indicators to give an idea of what the Kompetensi Dasar might translate to in terms of program content, scope and sequence of subjects across grade levels. The subjects were isolated islands and we needed to connect them conceptually within the framework of the PYP. Indicators for each curriculum area were developed over time and mapped across the 6 Transdisciplinary Themes. From the various contexts of the themes and the mapped curriculum content we worked collaboratively to create our first units of inquiry. During the process teachers were learning how to write central ideas and lines of inquiry. They attached key concepts, Learner Profiles and Attitudes, and identified the Transdisciplinary skills which would support student learning. Implementation was a trial and error process and planning sessions involved reflective conversations around successes, failures, frustrations, pedagogy and strategies. It was challenging to say the least. Of course, there were degrees of resistance, but there was also enthusiasm and commitment. For change to be sustainable it has to be done gradually over time, celebrating successes and breakthroughs no matter how small, to build confidence, knowledge and skills. One step at a time … having successfully developed and taught our first units was a great start toward reaching our goal.