What’s behind the PYP Exhibition? We get carried away in details, organization, guiding students, modeling that we often forget what it’s all about. This week, I had some hard questions from a parent, still new to the PYP, that made me rethink why we do this thing we call Exhibition.
Besides being a requirement of the PYP, Exhibition, I believe, is really about the skills, attitude and learner profile. There’s no way students at this age will be able to be an expert on their issue, whatever it is. They have a better chance if it’s something they are passionate about, but expert level? No.
This is what I want to express to that parent and what I want to remember. Knowledge is just one of the 8 thinking skills. And there are social skills, communication skills, self-management skills and research skills. Then there’s the attitudes and learner profile that help our learning.
We prepared for our student-led conferences the other day by mapping out examples of how students had shown the different skills and how they had exhibited the learner profile and attitudes. We chose a few skills to focus on as to not overwhelm everyone.
Students then shared this Exhibition learning map with their parents. I wanted the parents to understand the process and not just the information and the big “Wow” at the end of the journey.
While students completed their maps and talked about it, they realized they had been doing a lot. From organizing their thoughts and their entire process (some on Google Drive, some in folders) to managing their time so they could complete their weekly goals, they realized they had been working hard. They thought about how they had communicated orally and in writing and speaking during their interviews. They understood that researching was not just about the information but on how they found that information. They had to ask questions, plan, collect, record and organize all of their data.
A lot of them highlighted a lot of learner profiles and attitudes that they have exhibited. They’re doing well. They are some pretty confident 10-11 year olds and reflecting on their Exhibition process has reaffirmed that they’re doing pretty well.
So, what’s Exhibition all about?
Skills. Attitude. Learner profile. Reflect. Celebrate.
Here’s what one of my students wrote in his essay (completely independently).
In the end, I think it doesn’t matter what happens. I think it was most important to use my research skills and be able to prove that I have all of the PYP learner profiles and commitment to do my research. Now I think I will go and try and spread awareness about trams. So someday my small project could spread around the globe.
He has said it exactly. Exhibition: A big project with a lot of grit.