Approaches to Learning Skills
What are Approaches to Learning (ATL) Skills?
In order for students to grow as autonomous learners, the IB Middle Years Programme (MYP) intentionally teaches Approaches to Learning (ATL) skills to help students build on the process of learning.
Communication: How can students communicate through interaction and demonstrate their communication through language? Students can consider a range of topics such as giving and receiving feedback, oral and written communication, a variety of media, non-verbal communication, digital platforms, purposes and audiences, etc.
Speaking and Listening
Give and receive meaningful feedback
Use intercultural understanding to interpret communication
Use a variety of speaking techniques to communicate with a variety of audiences
Use appropriate forms of writing for different purposes and audiences
Use a variety of media to communicate with a range of audiences
Interpret and use effectively modes of non-verbal communication
Negotiate ideas and knowledge with peers and teachers
Participate in, and contribute to, digital social media networks
Collaborate with peers and experts using a variety of digital environments and media
Share ideas with multiple audiences using a variety of digital environments and media
Reading and Writing
Read critically and for comprehension
Read a variety of sources for information and for pleasure
Make inferences and draw conclusions
Use and interpret a range of discipline-specific terms and symbols
Write for different purposes
Understand and use mathematical notation
Paraphrase accurately and concisely
Preview and skim texts to build understanding
Take effective notes in class
Make effective summary notes for studying
Use a variety of organizers for academic writing tasks
Find information for disciplinary and interdisciplinary inquiries, using a variety of media
Organize and depict information logically
Structure information in summaries, essays and reports
Collaboration Skills: How can students collaborate effectively with one another? Students can consider a range of topics such as social media, empathy, delegation and shared responsibility, resolving conflict, building consensus, negotiating, encouraging others to contribute, giving and receiving feedback, etc.?
Use social media networks appropriately to build and develop relationships
Delegate and share responsibility for decision-making
Help others to succeed
Take responsibility for one’s own actions
Manage and resolve conflict, and work collaboratively in teams
Make fair and equitable decisions
Listen actively to other perspectives and ideas
Encourage others to contribute
Exercise leadership and take on a variety of roles within groups
Give and receive meaningful feedback
Advocate for one’s own rights and needs
Organization Skills: How can students manage time and tasks effectively to enhance their organizational skills? Students can consider a range of topics such as short vs long term assignments, meeting deadlines, calendar, goal setting, system of information, digital tools, learning styles, etc.?
Plan short- and long-term assignments; meet deadlines
Create plans to prepare for summative assessments (examinations and performances)
Keep and use a weekly planner for assignments
Set goals that are challenging and realistic
Plan strategies and take action to achieve personal and academic goals
Bring necessary equipment and supplies to class
Keep an organized and logical system of information files/notebooks
Use appropriate strategies for organizing complex information
Understand and use sensory learning preferences (learning styles)
Select and use technology effectively and productively
Affective Skills: How can students manage their own state of mind in order to be healthy and productive contributors to society? Students can consider a range of topics such as practicing mindfulness (concentration and mental breaks to sharpen focus), perseverance (practicing patience and persistence), emotional management (practicing peace and calm and being aware of emotions), self motivation (practicing positive thinking and a growth mindset), and resilience (practicing bouncing back after mistakes and failures and dealing with disappointment or change).
Practice focus and concentration
Practice strategies to develop mental focus
Practice strategies to overcome distractions
Practice being aware of body–mind connections
Demonstrate persistence and perseverance
Practice delaying gratification
Practice strategies to overcome impulsiveness and anger
Practice strategies to prevent and eliminate bullying
Practice strategies to reduce stress and anxiety
Practice analyzing and attributing causes for failure
Practice managing self-talk
Practice positive thinking
Practice “bouncing back” after adversity, mistakes and failures
Practice “failing well”
Practice dealing with disappointment and unmet expectations
Practice dealing with change
Reflection: How can students be reflective of their learning? Students can consider a range of topics such as identifying strengths and weaknesses of personal learning strategies and techniques, reflecting on new learning and areas for further exploration or confusion, reviewing the process of learning, etc.
Develop new skills, techniques and strategies for effective learning
Identify strengths and weaknesses of personal learning strategies (self-assessment)
Demonstrate flexibility in the selection and use of learning strategies
Try new ATL skills and evaluate their effectiveness
What did I learn about today?
What don’t I yet understand?
What questions do I have now?
Consider ATL skills development
What can I already do?
How can I share my skills to help peers who need more practice?
What will I work on next?
Consider personal learning strategies
What can I do to become a more efficient and effective learner?
How can I become more flexible in my choice of learning strategies?
What factors are important for helping me learn well?
Focus on the process of creating by imitating the work of others
Consider ethical, cultural and environmental implications
Keep a journal to record reflections
Information Literacy: How can students demonstrate information literacy? Students can consider a range of topics such as collecting, recording, and analyzing data; making connections between various sources, analyzing information to make informed decisions, using critical thinking skills to analyze and interpret media communications, and evaluate and select informational tools based on their relevance and appropriateness.
Collect, record and verify data
Access information to be informed and inform others
Make connections between various sources of information
Understand the benefits and limitations of personal sensory learning preferences when accessing, processing and recalling information
Use memory techniques to develop long-term memory
Present information in a variety of formats and platforms
Collect and analyse data to identify solutions and make informed decisions
Process data and report results
Evaluate and select information sources and digital tools based on their appropriateness to specific tasks
Understand and use technology systems
Use critical-literacy skills to analyse and interpret media communications
Understand and implement intellectual property rights
Create references and citations, use footnotes/endnotes and construct a bibliography according to recognized conventions
Identify primary and secondary sources
Media Literacy: How can students demonstrate media literacy? Students can consider a range of topics such as how they interact with media to use and create interpretations of information, seeking a range of perspectives from multiple sources, communicating through various platforms, and seeking to understand connections by comparing and contrasting and evaluating a variety of media and formats.
Locate, organize, analyse, evaluate, synthesize and ethically use information from a variety of sources and media (including digital social media and online networks)
Demonstrate awareness of media interpretations of events and ideas (including digital social media)
Make informed choices about personal viewing experiences
Understand the impact of media representations and modes of presentation
Seek a range of perspectives from multiple and varied sources
Communicate information and ideas effectively to multiple audiences using a variety of media and formats
Compare, contrast and draw connections among (multi)media resources
Critical Thinking: How can students think critically? Students can consider a range of topics such as gathering and organizing information into an argument, recognizing assumptions and bias in perspectives, drawing conclusions and generalizations, understanding counterarguments to see multiple perspectives, identifying trends, etc.
Practise observing carefully in order to recognize problems
Gather and organize relevant information to formulate an argument
Recognize unstated assumptions and bias
Evaluate evidence and arguments
Recognize and evaluate propositions
Draw reasonable conclusions and generalizations
Test generalizations and conclusions
Revise understanding based on new information and evidence
Evaluate and manage risk
Formulate factual, topical, conceptual and debatable questions
Consider ideas from multiple perspectives
Develop contrary or opposing arguments
Analyse complex concepts and projects into their constituent parts and synthesize them to create new understanding
Propose and evaluate a variety of solutions
Identify obstacles and challenges
Use models and simulations to explore complex systems and issues
Identify trends and forecast possibilities
Troubleshoot systems and applications
Creativity and innovation: How can students be creative? Students can consider a range of topics such as brainstorming and mind mapping ideas, creating solutions to complex problems, designing improvements to existing systems or creating new ones, applying existing knowledge to generate new ideas, practicing flexible thinking, etc.
Use brainstorming and visual diagrams to generate new ideas and inquiries
Consider multiple alternatives, including those that might be unlikely or impossible
Create novel solutions to authentic problems
Make unexpected or unusual connections between objects and/or ideas
Design improvements to existing machines, media and technologies
Design new machines, media and technologies
Make guesses, ask “what if” questions and generate testable hypotheses
Apply existing knowledge to generate new ideas, products or processes
Create original works and ideas; use existing works and ideas in new ways
Practise flexible thinking—develop multiple opposing, contradictory and complementary arguments
Practise visible thinking strategies and techniques
Generate metaphors and analogies
Transferring Skills: How can students transfer skills and knowledge among disciplines? Students can consider a range of topics such as applying effective learning strategies from one discipline to another, comparing their conceptual understanding across multiple disciplines, combining knowledge and understanding to create new solutions, etc.
Use effective learning strategies in subject groups and disciplines
Apply skills and knowledge in unfamiliar situations
Inquire in different contexts to gain a different perspective
Compare conceptual understanding across multiple subject groups and disciplines
Make connections between subject groups and disciplines
Combine knowledge, understanding and skills to create products or solutions
Transfer current knowledge to learning of new technologies
Change the context of an inquiry to gain different perspectives
What are important study habits and tips?
Ask for help when you need it (teacher, peer, staff member, counselor, tutor, academic support clubs, etc.)
Develop study groups with peers
Use organizational tools for studying (flashcards, Cornell notes, Quizlet, GoConqr, ) and time management e.g. Google Keep, Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Docs, Google Slides, Google Sheet, Google Drive (keep it organized), Evernote, etc.
Block off time for studying and doing homework
Designate or locate a quiet place to work
Prioritize what is most essential
Avoid multitasking --put the phone and technology away, so you can have focus.
Get enough sleep
Take brain breaks
What are 21st Century Skills?
In order to equip our students to artfully navigate the world, it is important that they develop 21st Century skills to be successful These skills overlap with the ATL skills already outlined by IB. According to Applied Educational Systems website, there are 12 specific 21st Century Skills: critical thinking, creativity, collaboration, communication, information literacy, media literacy, technology literacy, flexibility, leadership, initiative, productivity, and social skills. These skills align very closely to the Approaches to Learning (ATL) Skills for IB.
Overview of Skills