Action in the PYP, Part 1

In the PYP, action is a key aspect of our programme and our learning. All units of inquiry, and the P5 Exhibition in particular, are designed to inspire students to respond to the inquiries through action. As students engage with their learning, they are encouraged to share ideas of how they can make a positive contribution to our world. Teachers honor their voices by brainstorming ideas for action, implementing student ideas and exploring a range of age-appropriate action.

Action is intricately linked to MIS’ vision of “contributing positively within and beyond the school” and MIS’ mission of “encourage responsibility”; learners in the primary years often start with ideas on how they contribute within our school or at home before exploring meaningful ways of contributing to the world. Of course, this looks different across the grade levels. For example, student-initiated extra-curricular activities (ECAs) have started at MIS over the years as learners added their voice in the options available. These have included Eco Club, a Ted Ed club, a Language and Culture Club and a Book Club. Learners took responsibility for organizing, leading and implementing these ECAs with true learner voice.

As MIS’ definition of learning states, we know that learning happens best when students’ attitudes and values play an important role in learning as they enhance motivation. Action is usually a result of an emotional response to learning – students feel compelled to do something or make a change in response to something new they have learned. When students can take their ideas forward through action, learning is strengthened.

We also support action through other aspects of our programme – in particular, the development of the learner profile attributes, international-mindedness and agency. The following graphic illustrates the connections between these:

The PYP give us five “categories” of action to think further about. The following image defines each type of action as action can range from a small change in our attitudes or actions to creating an awareness campaign across the world! All actions, from small to large, are encouraged through our units of inquiry and recognized as important results of learning.

At MIS, we also link many of our units of inquiry to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). This helps our learning community connect learning to real-life problems as we work together on potential solutions. You will note these connections as part of some unit flyers. Seeing ourselves as contributors to real-life challenges is also addressing a key part of the IB Mission Statement, “The International Baccalaureate® aims to develop inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people who help to create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect.”

Action is huge and may seem a bit overwhelming! You may be wondering how you can further support action as a PYP parent. The following are a few suggestions to help support “action” at home:

  • Email your child’s teacher know about action you see as a result of a unit of inquiry or learning from school – teacher’s make notes of these in our PYP planners!
  • Model action in your life – think about the categories shared above and use the same language, if possible
  • Encourage appropriate action in the home – what kinds of ideas can you take forward that your child is passionate about and shared? Help identify where they can make a difference.

Stay tuned for “Action in the PYP, Part 2” in April 2021 where I will begin sharing examples of each type of action at MIS!

By Carla Swinehart

Works Cited

Blackburn, Cindy. “Toddle.” 202-. Visual guide to the PYP. PDF. 6 March 2021. <>.

International Baccalaureate Organization. International Baccalaureate Organization. 2021. website. 3 March 2021. <>.

—. “Programme resource center.” December 2018. PYP: From principles into practice. 15 February 2021.

Mahindra International School. “Definition of learning.” Definition of Learning. Pune: Mahindra International School, May 2018. PDF.

—. Mahindra International School. 3 November 2020. website. 3 March 2021. <>.

United Nations. Department of Economic and Social Affairs. n.d. website. 6 March 2021. <>.