Approaches to Learning (ATL)
Approaches To Learning (ATL) Skills
Approaches to Learning (ATL) skills are deliberate strategies, skills and attitudes that permeate the IB teaching and learning environment.
ATL skills supports the IB belief that a large influence on a student’s education is not only what you learn but also how you learn
ATLs consist of Five categories of interrelated skills and associated sub-skills that support students of all ages to become self-regulated learners.
Teachers collaboratively plan for implicit and explicit opportunities using a variety of strategies to develop ATL both inside and outside the programme of inquiry.
Source: D Y Patil International School | ibo.org
PYP ATL Poster
Detailed Explanation of ATL Skills in Eight PodcastsClick/Tap to Listen to the Podcasts
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.
In this podcast, John described how he moved some of the skills around to optimize teaching 'States of Mind' in the different IB Programmes. Here is a link to his spreadsheet so you can see how he did it: John Harvey's States of Mind Continuum Framework
Here are the 11 models John suggested. Take a look and pick one or two (or more) that fit you and your school. Links to each model can be found in the Continuum Framework document.
In the podcast, John described how he prefers the Gibb's Reflective Cycle. You can learn more using this link.
John also mentioned the 'Thinking Skills Across the Continuum' document he has compiled. Here is a link to that document. Be sure to check out all the tabs in the spreadsheet to access Critical thinking, Creative thinking, Information transfer, and Reflection & Metacognition.
In the podcast, John referred to the Big 6 and Super 3 models for building research skills. Here is a link to explore more.
In the podcast, John referred Belbin Team Roles model for developing social skills Here is a link to learn more.
Here is the list of the nine Belbin Team Roles:
The Social roles: Resource Investigator, Teamworker and Co-ordinator
The Thinking roles: Plant, Monitor Evaluator and Specialist
The Action or Task roles: Shaper, Implementer and Completer Finisher
In the podcast, John Harvey described how he moved some of the Self-management Skills around to optimize teaching 'States of Mind' in the different IB Programmes. Here is a link to his award-winning spreadsheet so you can see how he did it: John Harvey's States of Mind Continuum Framework
This episode is a sort of panel discussion looking at the big idea of using approaches to learning as a framework within IB to deliver the promise of an IB education as captured in the IB mission. The panel guests are Adrian von Wrede-Jervis, Nigel Gardner and John Harvey who has developed and led this series. With this episode the panel takes time to look at what might be missing, what might be done better, and what each of you in an IB school can do to make the Approches to Learning more useful to your teachers and students.
From Nigel: Integrating ATLs with concepts - here is the link to the framework that I was referring to: https://www.repurposedlearning.com/post/the-my-place-in-the-story-model
Linking with CASEL - 5 areas of social and emotional competency https://casel.org/fundamentals-of-sel/what-is-the-casel-framework/. Also see SEL Page and CASEL Section
ATL "I Can" Statements
Primary - Gr 8 ATL Continuum Example
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
Podcast: Interview Sonya Terborg About the Approaches to Learning (ATLs)
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.
Five Ways to Deepen Student Comprehension
For the most part, students aren’t good at picking the best learning strategies—in study after study, they opt for the path of least resistance, selecting the strategies that provide an immediate sense of accomplishment. Check out these simple, in-class activities—drawn from recent research.
The Importance of Teaching Empathy as an ATL
Prior to the Enhanced PYP empathy was an "PYP Attitude" attribute. In the Enhanced PYP, it has been subsumed into the Learner Profile under "Caring". Since empathy needs to be explicitly taught, I encourage PYP teachers to consider teaching empathy as an ATL skill under "Social Skills" (as it is in the MYP). Learn more about the importance of teaching Empathy.
The Importance of Differentiating Instruction & Assessment
It is critical to incorporate differentiation and assessment strategies during collaborative planning and teaching for implicit and explicit opportunities for all students to develop ATL skills both inside and outside the programme of inquiry. Learn more about Differentiating Instruction and Assessment.
What Is The 3-2-1 Strategy And How Can It Be Used For Critical Thinking?
What’s the 3-2-1 strategy? The 3-2-1 strategy is simply a format that can frame–well, really anything. Great for stimulating critical thinking and ATL understanding.
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Examples Of The 3-2-1 Strategy
It doesn’t even have to be about about teaching and learning. You might ask someone to name…
3 of your favourite genres of music, 2 of your favourite songs, and 1 pattern you noticed making that list of genres and songs
3 cities you’ve visited, 2 of your favourite memories of those 3 cities, and 1 place you’d like to go next
3 causes of pollution, 2 solutions that could help address those causes, and 1 thing a person can do every day to help immediately/have an immediate effect
3-2-1 is a tried-and-true way to frame anything from a pair-share or journal entry (e.g., ask students to write 3 things they think they know, 2 things they know they don’t know, and one thing they’re certain of about a topic) pre-assessment to a post-assessment (e.g., list three ways your project or learned skill reflected mastery of skill X, two ways skill Y still needs improving, and one way you can make your presentation stronger in the next five minutes) to a reflection of the post-assessment.”
The most common use of 3-2-1 is in response to a reading or lesson–usually 3 things you learned, 2 things that made you curious or confused, and 1 most important thing you learned or should do with what you’ve learned.
Using The 3-2-1 Learning Strategy For Critical Thinking
Note that these are just rough examples of using the 3-2-1 for learning. Feel free to take any of these and improve them or create your own based on an idea you get reading them. : )
Also note, the use of vague or imprecise words like ‘thing’ and ‘name’ and ‘could have’ and ‘might have.’ This is done to make it general enough to be plainly useful to a range of grade levels of content areas. The ‘thing’ can be anything from fractions or the water cycle to a discussion about Shakespearean sonnets.
3 differences between metaphors and symbolism, 2 things they have in common, and 1 general effect on a text that they each have
3 underlying assumptions of democracy, 2 common misunderstandings of democracy, 1 reason democracies have endured as a form of modern government
You could also have asked students to name 3 strengths of democracy, 2 forms of democracy, and 1 way it might have to evolve to maintain relevance in a changing world (misinformation, deep fakes, propaganda, partisanship, etc.)
Write 3 questions at the recall or understanding level, 2 questions at the ‘apply’ level, and 1 question at the evaluate level
3 ways you agree, 2 ways you disagree, and 1 thing you learned (or that surprised you) during your conversation
3 things they said, 2 points they made, 1 thing you’d like to know more about
3 things I know (generally) about mindset, 2 examples of the effect of mindset (generally), 1 thing I’ve noticed about my mindset today/before or during this lesson/recently, etc. (specifically)
3 ways my thinking occurs easily or naturally for me, 2 ways my thinking requires focus or effort on my part, 1 adjustment I can make in response
3 things I remember thinking during the lesson, 2 things I remember doing during the lesson, and 1 thing I could’ve done but didn’t
Spend 3 minutes summarizing, 2 minutes clarifying, and 1 minute writing one sentence that concisely summarizes the ‘thing’
3 things I could do with what I’ve learned, 2 things that other people do with this kind of knowledge or skill, 1 thing I am going to do with what I’ve learned
3 similarities, 2 differences, 1 question-to-guide-future-learning
3 things I learned, 2 things that were a bit confusing, 1 ‘big idea’ that sums up the relevance of it all
3 open-ended questions, 2 closed questions, 1 deepening question
3 clarifying questions, 2 probing questions, 1 contextualizing question
Reading Response Prompt Examples
Non-fiction text/simple: Name 3 things you remember or learned from the reading, 2 things that made you confused or surprised, and 1 thing you’d like to learn more about
Non-fiction text/less simple: Name 3 examples of text structure, analyze 2 ways that structure affected its meaning, and name 1 claim that the text seemed to make that was or was not well-supported
Fiction: Describe 3 ways the author developed the protagonist over the course of the book, describe 2 ways that development affected the plot’s development, and identify and explain 1 change the author could’ve made in that development and how that change would have affected the meaning of the text/your enjoyment of the text, etc.
Using 3-2-1 To Guide Inquiry Examples
Identify 3 places your inquiry could ‘start,’ identify 2 pros and cons of each, then create 1 driving question to guide your inquiry
Write 1 question, 2 answers, and 3 follow-up questions
Write 1 question, 2 revisions of the question, and 3 effects of those revisions
Write 3 questions, 2 possible answers each, and 1 implicit idea in either
2 sources for every (1) claim
3 sources, 2 media forms, 1 recent study
3 sources published within the last 5 years, 2 sources published between 5 and 20 years ago, 1 source published 20+ years ago
What are three ways I have designed with enough flexibility to meet the needs of a range of learners? What are two questions or challenges I anticipate? If they can only learn one thing from this lesson, what do I want it to be (ideally in one sentence)?
What are three most important ‘big ideas’ in this curriculum? (Obviously, this could be any number–six, ten, etc.) How can they unify the ‘less important’ or less broad ideas? What are curriculum planning strategies I can use to promote enduring understanding (or critical thinking, transfer, etc.)? What is one change I can make to this curriculum to make it more flexible for all learners?
Source: TeachThought Website
Characteristics of a Critical Thinking Classroom
How do you know if your students are ‘thinking critically’? Of course, the answer depends on a scores and scores of factors, from the grade level and content area you teach to your relationships with students and the nature of your curriculum, units, lessons, and activities. But the graphic above lists some examples that, if witnessed with any consistency at all, might be a good sign that your students are thinking.
A Critical Thinking Strategy for Student Note-Taking
Webinar: Developing and Implementing High-Quality Success Criteria
How would your students respond to the question, “How will I know if I have learned something?” When both you and your students have clarity about learning through high-quality success criteria, there is a greater likelihood that learning will happen and that all students will experience success in their learning. Success criteria can be used as a teaching/learning strategy to help students understand and use ATL skills, assessment as feedback, inquiry and developing UOIs. Whether face-to-face, hybrid, or at a distance, this webinar will introduce how best to support the development and implementation of high-quality success criteria.
OECD Future of Education and Skills 2030 Project
The OECD Learning Compass 2030, a product of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Future of Education and Skills 2030 project, is an evolving learning framework that sets out an aspirational vision for the future of education with a focus on individual and collective well-being. The compass framework connects well to IB PYP standards and practices through its offering of a broad vision of the types of competencies students will need to thrive in 2030 and beyond.
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These include core foundations, knowledge, skills, attitudes and values, transformative competencies, well-being and a cycle of anticipation, action and reflection (AAR). The concept of learner agency and co-agency are also central to the Learning Compass.
For example, The OECD Learning Compass 2030 distinguishes between three different types of skills: cognitive and metacognitive skills which include critical thinking, creative thinking, learning-to-learn and self-regulation (PYP ATL Thinking & Research Skills); social and emotional skills – which include empathy, self-efficacy, responsibility and collaboration and the ability to communicate, (PYP ATL Social & Communication Skills); and physical and practical (PYP ATL Self-Management Skills) –which include using new information and communication technology devices, daily manual tasks, such as feeding and clothing oneself, but also with the arts.
The Future of Jobs Report 2020
Source: World Economic Forum Website
The Sciences of Teaching
This ASCD article explores four examples of how the pairing of knowledge from psychology and neuroscience gives us insight into popular education approaches, discussing specific findings from each area that can and have guided teaching. The examples include Growth Mindset, Linking New Knowledge to Prior Knowledge, The Importance of Social-Emotional Skills, and Neuroscience and Diversity.