An exploration of transdisciplinarity in the PYP (2015)

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Susan M Drake PhD, Michael J Savage PhD, Joanne L Reid, Michelle L Bernard and Jacqueline Beres—Brock University

The purpose of this study was to investigate how Primary Years Programme (PYP) teachers, coordinators and administrators conceptualize and apply transdisciplinary approaches to teaching and learning. The researchers also conducted a comprehensive literature review to explore different transdisciplinary models and to present results on the effectiveness of various approaches. One of the conclusions from this review was that students who experience an integrated curriculum are as successful academically, and often more successful, than their counterparts, and are also able to develop the skills and values necessary to be successful in a globalized world. Twenty-four participants (eight from each of the IB’s three regions) participated in the study. Data collection consisted of in-depth interviews with participants. Three major themes emerged from the participant interview portion of the study: the PYP as a framework; the PYP as collaborative engagement; the PYP as a learning journey. All the participants identified the PYP as a framework that was designed to promote transdisciplinary teaching and learning. Participants also suggested that, in order for the PYP to function as a transdisciplinary programme, teachers, administrators and parents needed to “get on board”. Despite some of the challenges in implementing transdisciplinary teaching and learning in the PYP, all participants stated the PYP benefited students and aided them in “their learning journey”.

Research summary (PDF, 208 KB)

Full report (PDF, 1.26 MB)