Exhibition: What it is and isn’t

As we draw to a close another PYP Exhibition, a sigh of relief and a lot of reflection. Throughout this wacky journey, it’s become clear what Exhibition is and isn’t.

What Exhibition is:

  • a journey
  • a learning experience
  • a taste of independence
  • skill-based learning
  • inquiry
  • purposeful exploration
  • passion
  • process
  • a chance to gain knowledge about something important in the world
  • a chance to take authentic action
  • prideful learning
  • collaboration
  • a culmination of what students can do
  • a documented journey
  • nothing students haven’t experienced before

What Exhibition isn’t:

  • Teacher-directed
  • Memorized scripts
  • Needless repetitive work
  • Perfect handwriting
  • Something that feels like work
  • Product-driven
  • Forced collaboration
  • Something that leaves children without a sense of purpose
  • Such a strong drive that everyone loses sight of balance.

A student today was lamenting that Exhibition was over. When I asked her why, she said she loved the field trips, the chance to explore something she was interested in, taking action. She was wondering why we couldn’t do that all the time.

It was a good reflection for me as a teacher as well. Exhibition should be similar learning to what students have already experienced, and it should continue throughout their PYP journey. It shouldn’t be a sudden emphasis on skills, collaboration, in-depth research and a drive to perform something and to come out with a polished product.

It shouldn’t seem like anything completely new. What are your thoughts?


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