How Action enhances learning in the Primary Years Programme at GIIS

Selina D Souza
Jan 5, 2024
Learning, School

In today’s fast-changing world, it’s important for students to learn through doing and to find answers to their questions based on their own enquiries and experiences. The IB Primary Years Programme (IB PYP) is a framework that encourages primary students to be independent learners and fosters a love of learning in them. 

Students in the PYP use their natural curiosity to seek out issues important to them, understand these issues from different perspectives, and use their creativity to take action on the same. This ultimately helps them in their future careers and life.

At Global Indian International School, where we offer the IB PYP to students from the ages of 6 to 11, responsibility is a core concept for PYP students. This closely ties into students making their own choices, taking action and taking responsibility for their actions. 


Why is it important for students to take action?

Within the IB PYP, action plays an integral role in the learning process and students are encouraged to take action based on their learning and understanding of real-world issues. 

Action, according to the PYP, should always be authentic, meaningful and mindful. It can take many forms for students, such as making changes in their own lives, taking action within the school or local community, or advocating for larger societal issues. By taking action, students demonstrate their understanding and apply their learning to create positive change.

Empowering students to take action in the PYP offers both short-term and long-term benefits such as:

● An ability to effectively use agency, including voice, choice and ownership. Students who express their choices and are able to personalise their learning experience will enjoy a deeper understanding of concepts and make meaningful connections between theory and practice.

● An ability to engage in a global environment. Students are often encouraged to take action in order to benefit others, which can give them an understanding of the world around them that they might not otherwise have.

● Intercultural understanding. These same actions often allow students to connect with people of different backgrounds. When action is prioritised in a multicultural environment, students become more culturally aware and responsible.

● A sense of international mindedness. Action builds a sense of empathy with others, which encourages students to think beyond their community and consider the world at large.

Student taking action in the PYP at GIIS

At Global Indian International School, students in the Primary Years Programme take action and use their agency every day at school. While there are multiple examples of students taking action in their communities, here is a recent example.

The Grade 3 students at GIIS were doing a unit on communities. The Central Idea of the unit was ‘People accept roles and responsibilities in communities to demonstrate belonging’. Students explored their role in their community and looked at other community roles around them.

One of the Grade 3 students, who observed cleaners outside her apartment working outdoors in both hot and wet weather conditions, believed that she could play a role in community upliftment.  Gathering a few friends, she proposed an idea to do something that the cleaning staff would appreciate.

Apart from organising a fund-raising drive to buy small gifts for the cleaning staff, the GIIS student along with her friends took the initiative of writing thank-you notes, getting home-cooked meals and gift bags packed, and distributed to the community workers at her apartment.

Showcasing learning and taking action through the PYP Exhibition

All PYP students in Grade 5 have a culminating learning experience in the form of their year-end PYP exhibition. Through the exhibition, students are expected to show their understanding of all elements of the PYP.

Students at GIIS prepare for almost the entire year to design an inquiry process that draws on their passions and strengths or that stems from their concerns. 

The Grade 5 students then present their exhibition in any form that they find suitable: poetry, display boards, drama or turning the exhibition space into a mock airport, fashion boutique or a concert arena. Informing others and getting attention to their specific interest or cause is again a way of taking action in the PYP. 

In 2023, some of the interesting PYP exhibits at GIIS, SMART Campus included the perils of Fast fashion, where the student quizzed attendees on the differences between fast fashion and sustainable fashion brands, while suggesting alternative fashion options. Another exhibit talked about the impact of cellular towers on birds, quoting stats and data from actual studies done.

Examples of cyber bullying with displays of online do’s and don’ts, was another exhibit that catered to the many primary students attending. What was clear from these exhibits was the passion of the students who picked their interests or causes and advocated for them through the exhibition.

Also read: How we plan the teaching and learning for IB PYP students at GIIS

Looking to the future

When these students become adults, they need to be prepared to make decisions, hold themselves accountable, take responsibility and advocate for themselves and others. Adults are better prepared to do these things and become natural leaders if they have been taking action their entire lives.

To learn more about the PYP at GIIS, and how students educated in a nurturing environment that promotes action and agency are better prepared for the future, contact us today to set up your campus tour.

Selina D Souza

Selina D'souza is a Senior Communications specialist with 10+ years of marketing communications experience in the B2B and B2C IT and Education sector. She is a passionate curator of good content, believes that schools can be a place of creativity and innovation if the right mindset and practices are adopted, and is always looking for more sustainable lifestyle choices.

Related Topics

More from same author