Progressing MYP English learners to IB Diploma

MYP English student

...understanding of the global contexts will prepare learners for DP topics

Developing DP-ready English language learners

By Alexei Gafan

Building the sophisticated language skills learners need for DP English B can be a concern for many MYP teachers. The expectations in Diploma can be high, and students can find themselves under pressure to develop higher levels of fluency than in other MYP language acquisition programmes. This can be particularly challenging when learners join the MYP at different points in the programme.

In order to transition my students to DP English B, I focus on developing solid receptive, productive and interactive language skills, along with building of intercultural understanding of the topics and texts they are studying. But how do you shape this?

Build on the familiar

Any student transitioning from the MYP to DP English B will find the DP core and optional topics familiar. These topics closely relate to the MYP global contexts – MYP students with a solid understanding of the global contexts should be able to tackle any of the possible topics in DP English B with more confidence and familiarity.

MYP English global contexts

Develop the essential pre-DP skills

The MYP key concepts of Communication, Connections, Creativity and Culture are also key to studying the options in DP English B. The conceptual understanding students will develop in in these areas provides a solid foundation for future study of the DP options. MYP Language Acquisition students will not only be familiar with the DP optional topics, they should already possess an understanding of them.

For example, a DP Language B learner studying the option Customs and Traditions should already possess an enduring understanding of what customs and traditions are. This allows the DP teacher to focus more attention on language acquisition while extending and challenging students’ existing learning. This foundational understanding built into the MYP programme will prepare students to go further during their DP study.

The MYP related concepts are important for developing the receptive, productive and interactive English skills learners will need in the DP. You can develop these skills as students carry out inquiry into MYP concepts like audience, purpose, function, context, convention and word choice. A student who already understands how audience and purpose affect language choices, for example, is better placed to perform more confidently in DP assessments. This student should be able to make more mature language choices when using their interactive skills, preparing them for DP assessments like the Written Paper.

Understanding of the MYP concepts is tested in the summative DP English B assessments, and MYP students should gain advance experience of the style of DP assessments in Paper 1, Paper 2, the Written Assignment and the Orals. I recommend structuring MYP assessments to mirror those in the DP. MYP assessments should effectively test understanding of the topics and the receptive, productive and interactive skills. This will develop familiarity with the style of assessment learners will encounter at DP level, strengthening their confidence and building their potential to perform well in the DP.

More support

MYP English Language Acquisition: a Concept Based Approach

Build advanced English language skills

Develop confident MYP English language learners who are ready to progress

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