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The MYP at Branksome Hall Asia

By Paula Swartz, MYP Coordinator 

The IB Middle Years Program (MYP) encourages students to make relevant connections to the real world. These five years is the time when students can truly discover who they are, build self-esteem, and best prepare for the Diploma Program. 

The Personal Project is perhaps the best example of how the MYP helps students learn how to learn. The students engage in a deep inquiry into a topic they are truly passionate about.

This past weekend, our Grade 10  students celebrated their Personal Projects in an exhibition to the school community. Inquiry topics included:

How can we make a difference in the lives of others? What makes us happy? What makes us a great team? How can choreographed movements successfully deliver message and meaning to an audience?

How can we successfully display ideas of satire or criticism through humor in film? How can I help raise awareness about the importance of supporting descendants of Korea’s independence activists through film?

How can people raise their emotional intelligence and discover emotions by keeping a diary? How can we use translanguaging and immersion education effectively? What can be done to raise awareness of the danger of breakwater on Jeju? Where are places in Jeju that people rarely visit but are worth visiting when traveling to Jeju? What are the psychological effects of colors? How can the atmosphere of color in a residential environment help patients who have depression and mania?

As you can see from the topics above, students inquire into areas that are extremely relevant to them and that they are really invested in. The outcome includes responsible action so that the student’s research and skill development leads to positive change in our communities. For example, one Grade 10 student, Yejin Yang expressed interest in the factors that make people happy. She asked questions that included, “How can we make our community safe and work together as a great team?” Yejin’s ultimate goal was to research about happiness, discover what makes us happy, then select a research group to apply everything she had learned. She used the medium of a children’s cooking class to deliver happiness to the community. Her prior experience with Scouts contributed to Yejin’s desire to serve others and be a positive influence. Throughout the project, Yejin reflected on skills such as communication and creative thinking skills. In Yejin’s own words, opening a cooking class for children may seem like a small contribution, but actually it was a great achievement; anytime we can help others be extremely happy, we can be proud and know that we have made a difference.

MYP teachers make great efforts to help students discover themselves and develop excellent skills, such as self-management, research, and social skills. While academic skills and knowledge are important in education, we all know that soft skills such as empathy, kindness, organization, teamwork, and time management are just as important in the real world. The MYP program is designed to educate the whole child and we expect that our Branksome Hall Asia students graduate from the MYP as kind and knowledgeable individuals.