Approaches to Learning (ATL)

Approaches to Learning (ATL): Summary

The International Baccalaureate (IB) Approaches to Learning (ATL) are a set of skills and strategies that aim to help students become self-regulated, lifelong learners. The ATL skills are designed to be integrated into the curriculum and applied across all subject areas. There are five categories of ATL skills:

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3. Communication Skills:

4. Social Skills:

5. Self-Management Skills:


ATL Diagram

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Source: i-Biology Blog

PYP Approaches to Learning (ATL) Poster

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Source: Chris Gadbury 
** Arabic ATLs - Source: Fatma Trabelsi

PYP Approaches to Learning (ATL) Poster

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Source: Sonia Bouchard - Facebook

PYP ATL Poster

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Source: Managebac

Purpose of ATL

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Source: Sheeza Ali Facebook

Understanding ATL

Click/Tap image to view/download 34-page guide (Direct Download)
Source: This is a Section of the document - A Visual Guide to The PYP - by Cindy Blackburn.  - 34 pages.

Detailed Explanation of ATL Skills in Eight Podcasts

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These episodes by IB Matters are part of a series on the IB Approaches to Learning Skills known as the ATL’s that are at the core of all four International Baccalaureate Programmes.  John Harvey and the host will, in these eight episodes, try to give you a coherent, sustainable, values aligned strategy to implement ATL Skills in your school. They want to help you build your team of coordinators, teachers, librarians, and support staff.

  (You can check out all the IB Matters Podcasts Here.)

Approaches to Learning (ATL) Alignment

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Source: Alison Yang


Student Personal ATL Learning Plan Example

This set of five ATL skills playbooks, produced by Toddle, is designed to help you target specific skill indicators in your teaching and learning processes. The playbooks collate exciting ideas for skill-based activities that can be aligned with subjects or used independently for homeroom and other learning spaces.

How to Use the Playbooks 

Each playbook contains printable strategy or activity cards aligned with 50+ skill indicators within the five ATL skill clusters

Cards are written in student-facing language and also link to templates, worksheets, and graphic organisers students can readily use 

Each card also indicates a learner profile attribute that can potentially be developed through the activity; educators may encourage students to reflect upon the same.

 Source: Toddle
Click/Tap image to view/download playbookCommunication skills playbook helps develop the ability to express one’s ideas clearly and in diverse ways, to listen to multiple perspectives and to collaborate with other individuals effectively.
Click/Tap image to view/download playbookResearch skills playbook helps develop the ability to critically evaluate and effectively use credible information and media.
Click/Tap image to view/download playbook

Thinking skills playbook helps develop the ability to think critically and creatively, and transfer knowledge across disciplines.

Click/Tap image to view/download playbookSocial skills playbook helps develop the ability to collaborate with other individuals within a classroom setting and beyond.
Click/Tap image to view/download playbookSelf-management skills playbook helps develop the ability to reflect on one’s own progress and set goals to meet expectations.

ATL Descriptors - PYP

 Click/Tap on image to view/download PDF Document (Direct Download - Word File )
Source: Toddle

ATL Descriptors: EY-G12

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Source: Lydia VanBerkhout - Facebook

ATL "I Can" Statements

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Source: Suzanne Kitto

ATL "I Can" Statements

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Source: Mary Collins - Facebook

ATL Skills Continuum

K-8 ATL Continuum 

Approaches to Learning (ATL) Resource Toolkit

Here are some strategies that can help to build ATL skills curated by Alison Yang. While the Toolkit is targeted for MYP teachers, you will find that many of the resources are very applicable to the PYP, especially upper elementary.  Select each ATL by selecting a tab at the top of the spread sheet. It's truly a bountiful resource! 

Note: The skill indicators are merely suggestions by the IB. These skills are not the definitive or exhaustive list of ATL skills. Schools are not required to cover them all. Instead, the important point is for schools to consider their own contexts, reflect on their school missions and develop their own continuum of approaches to learning skills that can prepare students for the future. 

Strategies must be used intentionally and practice deliberately. When choosing the strategy to explicitly teach specific skills, we need to consider our subject-specific objectives, the complexity of summative assessment, desired learning outcomes, and age appropriateness.

Also see another version by Lenny Dutton (Direct Download)


Source: Alison Yang's website: Building Learning Agility (here you can view the speadsheet but cannot download)

Podcast: Interview Sonya Terborg About the Approaches to Learning (ATLs)

Podcast - Approaches to Learning - Sonya Terborg.m4a
Created by RACHEL FRENCH FRENCHSource: Professional Learning International - 58:45 - Jan 8, 2019

Angeline Aow interviews Sonya Terborg about the Approaches to Learning (ATLs).  Sonya has been a PYP educator since 2003 when she began working with 2nd Grade students at Bonn International School and has since worked as an art teacher, homeroom teacher, and technology integrator. Sonya is currently teaching MYP Design at Nanjing International School. Sonya is a PYP workshop leader and has worked with the IB on developing the PYP Blog and on several projects in relation to the PYP Enhancements. Her interest lies in challenging ideas and seeking understanding in how we can best “do school”. To find out more about Sonya and her work, you can follow her on Twitter or check out her website.

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