ATL flipped? What an earth does this mean?

Last month I wrote a post on the IB’s ideas about how you, the student should approach your learning in class – this is what is termed the ‘Approaches to Learning’ and it forms part of a wider focus on the IB called ‘Approaches to Teaching and Learning’ or ‘ATL’.

If you remember, the IB said that you, the student should approach learning using one of five different techniques – Thinking Skills Communication Skills, Social Skills, Self Management Skills and Research Skills.

So this month, I thought I would open your eyes to the Approaches to Teaching and learning that your teacher is expected to cover (these are the Approaches to Teaching) – see if you recognize any of them!

The Approaches to Teaching are ideas from the IB that give your teacher some different ideas for varying their style of teaching to help you, the learner. We all learn in slightly different ways so hopefully some variety in teaching will lead to improved understanding from you!

They are:

  1. Based on an Inquiry Approach
    This is sometimes called problem based learning – isn’t that what Chemistry is all about?
  2. Focused on Conceptual Understanding
    Allows you to get to the heart of big ideas (the ‘essential ideas’ to coin a phrase) – these are the topic headings in the guide.
  3. Developed in Local and Global Contexts
    Connections between experiences of you, the student and the real world around you are linked together.
  4. Focused on Effective Teamwork and Collaboration
    Allows the teacher to see what you have and have not understood. Also good for lab work!
  5. Differentiated to Meet the Needs of Learners
    This allows the teacher to plan for different abilities in the classroom so that everybody reaches their potential.
  6. Informed by Formative and Summative Assessment
    Formative assessment allows you to see where you re at a certain point in time. Summative assessment is the good old fashioned end of topic tests.
Hohendorf - "Dorf des Friedens". Die Gemeinde Hohendorf, Krs. Luckau, hat sich durch gute Aufklärungsarbeit und ständige Erfüllung ihrer Ablieferungspflicht zu einer vorbildlichen Gemeinde der DDR entwickelt. Durch enge Zusammenarbeit der Bauern mit der Gemeindeverwaltung war es möglich, alle auftretenden Schwierigkeiten zu überwinden und dadurch anderen Gemeinden ein gutes Bespiel zu geben. A, 5. Dezember wurde Hohendorf vom Landesfriedenskomitee Brandenburg als "Dorf des Friedens" ausgezeichnet. Stolz und glücklich waren die Bauern, als im Dorf ein Brief des Präsidenten Wilhelm Pieck eintraf, der eine Delegation nach Berlin einlud. Bei ihren Besuch in Berlin, der für alle ein unvergessliches Erlebnis war, konnten sie wertvolle Ratschläge des Präsidenten für ihre weitere Arbeit mitnehmen. Um auch am Neuaufbau Berlins mitzuhelfen, verpflichteten sie sich, 41 Baumstämme zur Verfügung zu stellen. UBz: In der Dorfschule von Hohendorf wird gute Pionierarbeit geleistet. Lehrer Wohlauf erzählt den jungen Pionieren von der Bedeutung des 3. Jahrestages der jungen Pioniere.

By Bundesarchiv, Bild 183-13055-0008 / CC-BY-SA 3.0, CC BY-SA 3.0 de,

Do you recognize any of these listed techniques? By the way, these are not exclusive to Chemistry; you should see them in all of your subjects? Some do favour Chemistry, for example, a favourite of mine is Inquiry – that’s what Chemistry is all about isn’t it? If you are at a MYP school, you will probably be much more aware of this as MYP teaching and learning is based around the inquiry idea.

What are your experiences with respect to Approaches to Teaching? I’d love to hear from you in this respect – maybe you could share some good teaching that you have experienced with us below.