Mark Twain International School10 Reasons why the IB Primary Years Programme (PYP) is ideal for students to become active, lifelong learners
It encourages students to inquire
Understanding a complex and interdependent world
PYP students are condent communicators
Learning how to learn
It encourages international-mindedness
Seeing things from dierent perspectives
Students take action
Thinking about issues
It involves the whole school learning community
Caring and responsible citizens
Primary & Pre-primary Deputy Academic Director | IB Primary Years Programme Coordinator
I am Orlandina Bulie and I am the Primary Deputy Academic Director and PYP Coordinator at Mark Twain IS. I have been working in the field of education for more than 20 years and I joined the Mark Twain IS team 16 years ago as a teacher of English. After a few years, I was appointed as PYP Coordinator and then the role of Primary Deputy Academic Director was added.
I have grown tremendously both personally and professionally during the years I have been here at Mark Twain IS. I had never believed before joining this community that one can set limits so high and dream so big. Throughout the years, I have learned the lessons of effort, commitment, enthusiasm, collaboration, respect and risk-taking and I hope that I have succeeded in modeling these values for my students and fellow teachers.
I believe that being a member of the pedagogical leadership team is both a professional opportunity and a challenge to try your limits. For me, this role has meant continuous professional development as I have tried to keep abreast with the cutting-edge results of research in the fields of education and educational leadership and I have supported my fellow teachers in the process of action research within their classrooms with the aim to improve student learning and development.
In this respect, I am a great supporter of the idea of ‘creative professionalism’ of teachers working in the IB and I believe the willingness to experiment with ideas and practices and the desire to learn and grow as an educator and as a human being lay the foundation of a successful professional. I strongly believe in the added value the IB brings to education. In my opinion, the IB Primary Years Programme (PYP) is not just a methodology that the PYP teachers should know and make use of, it is a philosophy and even a way of living and being, a way of interacting with oneself, with others and with the world.
Through the implementation of the IB programmes, here at Mark Twain IS, we transform education from learning about to learning to be. In a world that is changing rapidly, we move from the mere recollection of facts which is emphasized within traditional systems, to the development of critical, creative and metacognitive thinking and extend education beyond the intellectual to include socially responsible attitudes as well as thoughtful action.
Therefore, we promote an educational system in which knowledge is not an end in and by itself, but rather a tool that leads to the development of conceptual understandings which can be applied and adapted in various contexts. The IB pedagogy promotes learning in a climate in which students’ ideas are valued and respected and that allows them to explore their own questions and seek new levels of understanding through active participation, independent research as well as cooperative learning. Therefore, the IB system believes in the social construction of knowledge which leads to a quality product and also brings motivation for learning. We continuously encourage our students to make their mark in the world through global engagement, which implies student agency, an active stance and a personal decision to assume responsibility and develop a sense of moral awareness of issues facing the humankind.
Our students learn how to learn within a school environment that values collaborative thinking, discussions, and problem-solving linked to real-life situations in an endeavor to ‘flatten’ the classroom walls and connect learning to life. It is an environment in which all these values are modeled by the Mark Twain IS educators that have committed themselves to creative professionalism, to reflective practice and to life-long learning, and that benefit from continuous support in this regard through ongoing professional development. These values are specific to the international system of education and make the difference in the Romanian field of education.
In my double role as a Deputy Director and PYP coordinator, I have tried to seize all the challenges and provocations although it did appear a little daunting at times, but I succeeded to turn them into accomplishments, be them small or big, and to learn valuable lessons from these experiences. It is because of this role within the school that I was involved in a transnational project in which Mark Twain IS together with the IB played a transformative role within our community by offering professional development to high school teachers in Galati. It is because of this role that I completed my Doctoral Studies in the field of Education with the aim of developing professionally but also of adding value and giving back to the school community in which I have grown.
Throughout the years of practice and reflection, I have become aware of the multiple layers to the role that I hold as well as of the complexity it entails. In this respect and in alignment with the IB philosophy, as a member of the pedagogical leadership team at the school, I strive to model the attributes of the IB Learner Profile as well as to find ways to motivate, challenge, support and empower the teachers throughout the process. One important aspect my double role implies is to set bridges between the components of the school community and bring together students, teachers and parents in an endeavor to build a school community that is ‘outward looking as well as forward thinking’.
I am sure there are many challenges ahead as well as many opportunities for growth and development. I and the entire school community will face them boldly while never forgetting that the sky should be the limit in whatever we do and that we should never settle for less than the perfect. ‘If one advances confidently in the direction of one’s dreams, and endeavors to live the life which one has imagined, one will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.’ said Henry David Thoreau. My dreams for the future include continuous and relentless growth and advancement of our learning community on the IB journey and sustained commitment to the values entailed by international education.