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IB MYP Approaches to Learning


The aim of Approaches to Learning is to produce self-regulated learners who have been
taught the skills of effective thinking and learning from information processing to
managing their personal organisation and emotions.
Approaches to Learning represent general and subject specific skills that the student
develops and uses during the study of the subject. The focus is on teaching students how
to learn, to develop learning skills and to support students to take responsibility for their
learning. Approaches to learning is another way to develop Learner Profile attributes
ATL skills are grouped into five broad skill organisers. Within each ATL Skill Category
there are one or more Skill Clusters.

Approaches to learning skills can be

* learnt by the student
* improved with practice
* taught by the teacher
* and developed incrementally.
ATL skills empower students to succeed in meeting the challenging objectives of MYP
subject groups and prepare them for further success in rigorous academic programmes
like the VCE and the DP.
ATL Skills are of three types: Cognitive; Affective; and Metacognitive.
Cognitive skills include active information processing and retrieval strategies e.g. study
skills. Affective skills enable students to gain some control over mood, motivation and
attitude. Metacognitive skills can be viewed as: metacognitive knowledge students gaining awareness of the thinking and learning preferences, strategies,
techniques and skills they use at present; and metacognitive performance - students
using that knowledge to improve performance, changing ineffective strategies, trying
new ones and learning new skills.
The ATL Skills Framework lists all the ATL skills under the 5 ATL skill categories
and the 10 ATL Skill Clusters. Within each Skills Cluster are many examples of ATL
Skills practices over 150 learning skill practises are listed.

Relevant subject specific ATL skills are addressed in an MYP Unit. Some appropriate
general ATL skills should also be included in an MYP Unit of study. It is not necessary for
any one subject to address all the 150 skills listed.

Developing, Implementing, Assessing and Mapping ATL Skills

Subject Group ATL Skills
From the ATL Skills Framework (see From Principles in to Practice - Appendix 1. on page
90), subject-groups are to classify the relevant ATL skills into three categories
subject specific ATL Skills
relevant general ATL Skills
the subjects top 10 ATL Skills that will be a focus for the faculty over the five years of
the MYP Program.
These lists are not meant to be set in stone but dynamic. They can change depending on
the cohort and the nature of the unit.
For each subject, these skills will largely remain the same through the five years of the
program. It will be the complexity of the use of these skills that will increase from year to
year. The complexity of the ATL Skill and what a student will need to show in order to be
proficient will be defined by the learning experiences and the summative assessment
tasks in the unit.

ATL Skills in MYP Unit Plans

Subject teachers will need to document which ATL Skills they will address in each MYP
Unit of Study. Some ATL Skills will already be embedded in the unit while other skills will
need to be taught specifically.

What will an ATL Skill look like ?

In the Action: Teaching and learning through inquiry page of the MYP unit planner,
teachers should specify the complexity of the use of the skill i.e. what a student will need
to show in order to be proficient. This needs to be clearly articulated in the unit plan and
communicated to the students.

Implementing ATL Skills to students

Have the ATL Skill(s) stated on the relevant activity document. Draw student attention to
the ATL Skill and discuss what they will need to show in order to be proficient at the skill
within the context of the activity. Also refer the skill to one or more of the Learner Profile
attributes. Keep on amplifying this message.

Student self-assessment of ATL Skills

Teachers are to implement a student self-assessment approach in order to gather
evidence of student ATL Skill development during a reporting period. This can be carried
out using a student self-assessment proforma (see sample on page 3) which requires the
student to reflect on his or her skill proficiency with respect to an ATL Skill. The student
self-assessment proforma contains a generic ATL Skill Proficiency Rubric. This allows
students to assess themselves using the rubric descriptors as either a novice, a learner, a
practioner or as an expert for a particular ATL Skill. Teachers should implement student
self-assessments at least twice for each skill during the course of an MYP unit.

Reporting on student ATL Skill progress

Teachers use the student self-assessment data together with their own observations and
objective summative assessment data to make an on-balance judgement as to the
students progress in each of the five ATL Skill Categories. Teachers will report student
progress using a four point scale ranging from beginning to developed - see page 4 for a
sample subject report.

Mapping ATL Skills

Atlas can produce a number of reports that can map ATL Skills across the five years of
the program for each subject-group. These reports will include:
ATL Skills Chart by subject across a year level - horizontal scope and sequence (see
page 5).

ATL Skills Chart by subject across all years of the program level - vertical scope and
sequence (see page 6).

Student Self-assessment of ATL Skills


__________________________ Class: ____

Subject: ____________________ The ATL Skill is:
What will this ATL Skill look like in the unit we are studying ?:

Level 1
The Novice

Level 2
The Learner

Level 3
The Practitioner

Level 4
The Expert

I watch others performing

the task and using the
learning skill.

I copy others performing

the learning skill. I follow
a step by step approach
when using the learning

I am able to use the

learning skill whenever I
want. I am able to use the
learning skill in different

I am able to use the

learning skill whenever I
want and I can teach
other students how to use
the skill.

I am beginning to
understand how the
learning skill works. I ask
questions when I am not

As I practise the skill I feel

that I am getting better
and better.

I can use the skill

automatically. I use the
learning skill in different
situations some of which
are new to me.

I often make errors when

using the skill.

When I use the learning

skill I check to make sure
I have not made any
I can only use the skill in
situations that I have
practised before. My

I can usually use the skill

without referring to the
way that I have done it in
the past. I can
sometimes use the
learning skill in different
Any errors I make I can
quickly correct.
My teacher only
occasionally needs to
help me with the learning

My teacher does not need

to help me with the
learning skill.

My teacher frequently
assists me to develop my
use of the learning skill.

Any errors I make are

corrected automatically.

teacher needs to help me