Inquiry Into the 5 Essential Elements of the PYP

This is part of a series of inquiry-based provocations for essential elements of the PYP. For more, click here

I remember receiving a box of laminated cut-outs to display in my classroom which were intended to help remind us about our goals as teachers and learners using the International Baccalaureate (IB) PYP Programme — specifically, the 5 Essential Elements of the PYP.

via TIGS Illawara Grammar School

Use of these cutouts went about as well as my feeble attempts to use Key Concepts questions (read that story here — fortunately, it does have happy ending).

In retrospect, I realize that my mind was in such a frenzy trying to “get it together” as a new teacher, I never had the quiet time necessary to sit and process in its entirety this more subtle approach to teaching and learning.

As I’ve continued to reflect on my experiences at a PYP school, and on inquiry in general, I’ve come to better glimpse how and why all five of these elements truly are essential. This week’s provocation is intended as an investigation on where they come into play for learners. (I will also plan on designing additional provocations based on individual essential elements in the future!)

Resource #1: The Potter, video by Josh Burton

Resource #2: Soar by Alyce Tzue via The CGBros

Provocation Questions:

  • What is the connection between a growth mindset and these essential elements?
  • Why are concepts, skills, knowledge, attitudes, and action necessary for learning? What would happen if one element was missing?
  • How do the different elements support each other?

featured image: DeathToTheStockPhoto

3 Replies to “Inquiry Into the 5 Essential Elements of the PYP”

  1. Hi Mary,

    Great questions that are definitely worth pondering. Thank you for sharing your reflections.

    Too often, these elements are laminated and not lived. They are used as classroom wallpaper without further discussion, exploration or development. I agree that they are all important and interlinked. They are all necessary for the development of the Learner Profile attributes and, ultimately, international-mindedness. Since this is our goal, I see a place for all of them. I appreciate how they stretch our focus beyond academic achievement. An education that is purely academic is no longer sufficient.

    Thanks again for sharing your thoughts.



      1. Love it! Thanks for sharing it with me (I just shared it on Twitter). I like the idea that the digital age is not about hardware or software. It’s about a mindset and a new way of living. As educators, we become irrelevant if we don’t embrace this mindset. Worse than that, we are doing a disservice to the kids.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *