Pack your bag with skills for a lifetime

Pack your bag with skills for a lifetime

Presenting our latest Oakridge Experts Article, by our expert Richa Mehrotra – Grade Level Coordinator for MYP 1, 2 and 3 at Oakridge International School Bengaluru talks about Approaches to Learning (ATL) skills.

Backpack plays a significant role in the life of any student. One of the best tools we can offer in the backpack of our learners is the Approaches to Learning. They are the skills of Life. We commonly call them ATL skills. They help students learn efficiently and effectively.

What are the Approaches to Learning:

ATL refers to those skills that students develop when they are learning how to learn and think effectively and how to process information and manage their emotions. ATL are deliberate strategies, skills, and attitudes that permeate the IB teaching and learning environment. These skills are woven throughout the IB continuum and aim to engage students in learning how to learn.

The ATL skills in IB context are as follows:

  • Thinking skills
  • Critical thinking
  • Creativity and innovation
  • Transfer
  • Communication skills
  • Social skills
  • Self-management skills
  • Organisation
  • Affective
  • Reflection
  • Research skills
  • Information literacy
  • Media literacy

Why have Approaches to Learning (ATL) in your backpack?

The IB Approaches to Learning are unarguably the most important to acquire not only in the context of a unit of inquiry but also for any learning and teaching in the classroom and the real outside world. The five categories and their respective sub-skills encompass what is needed for a learner of today. Today we need people who are not just knowledgeable but are also creative and critical thinkers and problem solvers.

How are the Approaches to Learning (ATL) developed?

At Oakridge, ATL are integral part of our written, taught and assessed curriculum

The ATLs are strategically planned so that students have the opportunity to develop in all five skill areas through their detailed sub-clusters. The curriculum helps to develop ATLs during the unit of inquiry. Teachers imbibe the ATLs most suited for the unit in the planner stage itself. The learning engagements are designed to allow students to develop various skills. ATLs can be developed explicitly or implicitly- explicitly through the subject itself and implicitly outside the subject, through co-curricular activities.

Self-reflection by the students on the ATL skills plays a very important role as it helps the students realize where they are currently and where do they need to navigate.

As rightly said by John Schaar “The future is not someplace we are going, but one we are creating. The paths are not to be found but made. And the activity of making them change both the maker and the destination”.

The backpack of the learner that carries these skills in his tool kit is preparing well for the dynamic and fast-changing world. Skills like right communication at the right time, well analyzed and timely research, self-managed and organized learning with wise application of creative and critical thinking are timeless and extremely powerful. A person who knows all this will be able to turn any situation into his advantage and survive any change or circumstances. These truly develop our learners for the future. Such learners are self-regulated. They can learn anything from anyone, any place at any time and use any media. This gives them a significant advantage over others under any circumstances.

At Oakridge, we strive to bundle the backpack of our students with these timeless and powerful IB- Approaches to Learning. We are sure they will to develop them into self-motivated and independent lifelong learners.