Fieldwork Education spent five years working and collaborating with many students, teachers and schools to find out the best way to support the unique and specific needs of 11-14 year olds.
During this research period a number of issues were raised, in particular three requests that were common from almost every school. These were:
- Can you help us provide our middle schools students with the kinds of learning children have when their schools use the IPC?
- Can you help us do interesting stuff please – to keep learning engaging for our middle school students?
- Can you do this in a way that doesn’t make us change the entire structure of our school or the way we organise ourselves?
A study into the latest scientific research on the unique needs of the adolescent brain followed and we identified five needs that we wanted to address through the IMYC. So we responded with four solutions that became the crucial elements of the International Middle Years Curriculum:
- A curriculum for 21st century learning drawing on current media platforms, involving active skills-based learning, and promoting self-reflection and the opportunity for students to make sense of their learning.
- Structures and systems that support the needs of the adolescent brain.
- Relevant and engaging subject matter that includes a challenging Big Idea for life and a blend of individual and shared learning experiences.
- A limited amount of structural change that doesn’t disrupt single subject teaching and learning but at the same time involves the sharing of a Big Idea and collaborating during the Exit Point.
The IMYC is much more than a bunch of good ideas in a framework, it is a full curriculum; designed to support the academic and personal needs of the learner at this crucial age. The latest research has shown consistently that the maturing adolescent brain needs very specific support and students’ personal development cannot be neglected; but not at the cost of the academic rigour and depth of learning required! That is what I enjoy about the IMYC, it is not either or, but both, we owe that to our students!
Isabel Du Toit
Head of IMYC