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Evidencing Learning workshop: Using personas

Name: Cynthia
Position: Early Years teacher in an International
School in Southeast Asia
Nationality: Korean
Age: mid-20s

Who are they?


I am from Korea and did some of my schooling in Australia, but took my first teaching job at an
international school in Southeast Asia where I have been working for a year now. I don’t have a
lot of formal teaching experience, but I did work at day camps and my church Sunday school
throughout university.

What makes them unique?


I love traveling and learning about new cultures. I am very open-minded and pride myself on
being a good listener and being accepting of different ideas and opinions. I have received only
in-school PYP training from my PYP Coordinator and am very eager to learn more.

How are they motivated?


I adore young children and always wanted to be an Early Years teacher. I am young and have a
lot of energy and I don’t mind putting in extra time at school doing documentation and planning
my units. I have a knack for inquiry and guiding students through explorations with opportunity
for hands-on learning but I think other teachers sometimes see me as focusing on ‘watered
down’, ‘cutesy’ ideas. This frustrates me but I’m not sure how to change either the rigour of what
I am doing or how others perceive it.

Why do they behave the way they do?


I am hungry for new ideas and to learn more. I am very social and love working with other
people. I sometimes lack confidence in my ideas and need encouragement to question and
contribute to the discussion in meaningful ways, rather than just agreeing with others. I have
such a diversity of cultures in my classroom that it isn’t easy to find ways for all students to
connect.
Name: Christos
Position: Mixed age class, grade 4/5 teacher at a small,
rural school in the United States
Nationality: Kenyan
Age: 32

Who are they?


I came to teaching as a second career after trying my hand at starting my own design business.
I have been teaching for a few years now and this is my first year in a PYP school. It is a PYP
candidate school - a small rural school with mixed age classes. I drive 50 minutes each way to
work and don’t have a lot of time for before or after school meetings due to the commute.

What makes them unique?


I love technology and design and am keen to embed many of these ideas in my classroom and
units. I enjoy the openness and creativity of some of our units but find others to be restricting
and too subject focused. I have a young family and am a devoted father to two young children
who keep me busy at home. My wife is also a teacher but teaches in a different district.

How are they motivated?


I want to learn more about how to engage my students in the classroom and how to give them
opportunities for voice. I can see in my own children the importance of independence and giving
them the opportunity to make choices and direct their learning, but I’m not sure how to include
this meaningfully into my classroom practice. Especially when it comes to assessment, I want to
figure out how to get the students more involved.

Why do they behave the way they do?


I am very reflective and wish I had more time to reflect both independently and with colleagues
on the work I am doing in the classroom. As my school is so small there are no real ‘grade level’
teams. I feel that there isn’t enough support from the coordinator, who is very new to the PYP
and lacks experience. I find that in my classroom there is such a diversity of student interests
and abilities and I struggle to find ways to keep all learners engaged and meet the needs of all
students in my mixed age class.
Name: Tara
Position: Principal in a large public school in the United
States
Nationality: German
Age: late 40’s

Who are they?


I have been an administrator for 6 years - prior to that I taught upper Elementary grades as a
homeroom teacher. I recently took over as the Principal of a well-established PYP school – it is
my first experience with PYP and IB.

What makes them unique?


I like to think I am a ‘hands-on’ Principal – very visible in the school, love leading professional
development, regularly visiting classrooms and am well known and liked in the school
community already. I read everything I can get my hands on related to education and best
practices. I have taken many additional courses and trainings to support my own journey as a
learner.

How are they motivated?


I am a bit of an assessment guru. One of the things that I have been tasked with is ensuring that
the PYP is not ‘bringing down’ the academic rigour of the school. Most of the teachers at the
school know far more about the PYP than I do – I know I need to get up to speed fast!
Transdisciplinary learning is new to me – as a previous upper Elementary teacher in U.S. public
schools I am more used to departmentalisation and subject-specific learning.

Why do they behave the way they do?


I am a bit worried about how to take on leadership at the school when there is so much new to
me, and so much ‘PYP jargon’ that I can’t remember or keep straight! When I visit classrooms I
can see that the teachers and students are engaged and this excites me - but I also need the
teachers to demonstrate accountability to the learning objectives. It isn’t clear to me that
assessment data is properly being used to analyse the effectiveness of the teaching and
learning and the overall programme.