International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme
The IB Middle Years Programme (MYP) at Qatar Academy has been carefully planned to ensure that our students become caring, knowledgeable, open-minded, balanced, principled, and reflective young adults. We teach our young people to think critically, inquire into important issues, communicate well in at least two languages, and take calculated risks.
With access to over 60 community service, athletic, and academic after-school activities and several opportunities to travel the world in the Week Without Walls program, students are challenged well beyond the curriculum of an ordinary school. The student e-portfolios and student-led conference structure ensures that the focus is consistently on learning and growing while acquiring the grades and skills necessary to reach the IB Diploma Programme and attend the world’s most elite colleges and universities. In addition to eight required subject groups (Language and Literature, Language Acquisition, Individuals and Societies, Science, Physical Health Education, Mathematics, Arts and Design). Islamic and Arabic Cultural Studies classes are required, ensuring that knowledge of the local culture is attained by all students.
MYP teachers at Qatar Academy cooperatively plan and assess students’ work to ensure that learning opportunities and grading are consistent and accurate. The moderation process in grade 10 also ensures that a 7 at Qatar Academy is equivalent to a 7 anywhere in the IB world. With a number of teachers involved in larger IB initiatives, Qatar Academy’s MYP has been hailed as the leading program in the region and one that other schools aspire to replicate.
Qatar Academy uses a curriculum which has been specially developed to meet international standards and the needs of our students. The content of this curriculum is taught and assessed using pedagogies supported by the International Baccalaureate programs.
Differentiation of instruction, since its earliest inception, is based on sound principles for the education of middle years students. The rapid, and sometimes uneven, intellectual and social development of students ages eleven to fourteen requires specific instructional methodologies in order to best meet the varying needs of children ages eleven to thirteen developing into adolescents.
Our QA MYP English language program is based on an approach premised on the work of Carol Ann Tomlinson (1995), who condensed the basic principles for reaching the pre-adolescent learner into four basic characteristics for teaching and learning in grades 6 through 8. Our instruction, then, is designed to:
- Be concept-focused and principle-driven
- Be designed with on-going assessment of student readiness and growth built into the curriculum
- Use flexible grouping consistently, allowing the differentiation, or patterns of groupings, to change smoothly and frequently, as students work towards grasping new concepts, and then extending and strengthening their conceptual understanding
- Be based on the premise that students are “active explorers” who are increasingly responsible for their own work. Teachers guide and facilitate learning, allowing students to gain the adolescent need to think independently, manage their own work, plan, and evaluate their efforts.
Flexible grouping allows the team of instructors to get to know the students, to forecast future possibilities in grouping structures for student benefit, and to observe students in a wide variety of group dynamics. The team of instructors can share observations, target instruction, track improvement, and ultimately become more knowledgeable about each student’s needs for instruction that is challenging.
Middle years students need to “own” their learning in order to participate in academic literacy. Our classrooms need to be “student-centered” based on the concept of student choice and active student engagement. When we describe the middle years classroom as “differentiated” we mean that:
- Teachers use a variety of ways for students to explore the curriculum content
- There are a variety of activities or processes by which students can come to “own” their learning, or come to understand the critical information and ideas necessary
- There are a variety of options through which students can demonstrate or exhibit what they’ve learned.
The QA English Department has chosen to rely upon a differentiated classroom model because it helps students improve in skills, independence, and critical literacy habits at this all so important stage of their lives.