PYP New Staff Induction as a Unit of Inquiry

This year we had 25 wonderful new staff join our Primary Years Program. As PYP Coordinator, myself and my trusty partner are charged with the privilege of training them in all things PYP. We decided this was a great chance for us – as coordinators- to participate in a process of collaborative planning and design our own Unit of Inquiry to structure our 9 one-hour sessions with our new staff. Here are the big pieces of our UOI:

staff induction UOI

We had 3 overarching goals:

  1. Have our new-to-PYP learn about the PYP, by learning through the PYP
  2. Model inquiry based, concept-driven teaching and learning practices they could take back and use in their own teaching
  3. Stay connected to the process of unit planning, unit delivery and unit reflection from a teaching perspective

Here is a brief (not so brief!) summary of what we did each week to hopefully accomplish these goals!

Week 1 – General overview

Diagnostic Assessment: What do you know, or think you know about the PYP?

Teachers sketched their own model of the elements of the PYP and how they work together.

Staff Induction 11

Tuning in: How do you feel about your current understanding of the PYP?

Teachers wrote their name or a symbol on a post-it and stuck it to a reflection spectrum that ranged from “I don’t even know what PYP stands for” all the way to “I should take over the PYP Coordinator’s job”

Staff Induction 5

Tuning in: Introducing the Unit of Inquiry

We shared the central idea, key concepts and lines of inquiry with the teachers.

Tuning in: Q&A

We facilitated an informal question and answer session and made sure to take note of questions that could guide our planning for future sessions.

Week 2 – International Mindedness

Tuning in: What is international mindedness?(Form)  How does it work in the PYP?(Function)

Teachers jotted down what they think they know about the form and function of international mindedness into their “Inquiry Notebooks”.

Staff Induction 12

Finding Out & Sorting Out: Resource Exploration & Visible Thinking Routine – Connect, Extend, Challenge


Teachers explored a variety of resources we provided about international mindedness and organized their ideas based on the Connect-Extend-Challenge Visible Thinking Routine.

Staff Induction 14

Making Conclusions: Reflection – How might I develop IM in the grade/subject I teach?

Teachers sat with colleagues who teach the same grade or subject to chat about and brainstorm ways to put their learning about IM into action.

Week 3 – Transdisciplinary Learning

Taking Action : Reflecting on international mindedness

Teachers discussed how they had put their learning about IM into action in their own teaching and how it went.

Tuning in: Visible Thinking Routine – 3,2,1 Bridge


Teachers completed the first part of the Visible Thinking Routine “3,2,1 Bridge” about transdisciplinary learning.

Provocation: Decomposition Lab

Teachers watched this YouTube video that shows a Grade 4 transdisciplinary unit in action and discussed what they noticed.

Sorting Out: Transdisciplinary Theme Visible Thinking Routine: Chalk Talk


Teachers completed a chalk talk for each of the 6 TD themes in the PYP, brainstorming what topics or specific areas of study could be explored in that theme.

Staff Induction 2

Making Conclusions & Reflection: 3,2,1, Bridge

Teachers completed the second part of the VTR “3,2,1 Bridge” and reflected on how their understanding about transdisciplinary learning had shifted and changed.

Staff Induction 15

Week 4 – Concept-Based Teaching and Learning

Taking Action: Reflecting on transdisciplinary learning

Teachers chatted about how the attempted TD learning in their own teaching practice based on what they had learned the week before.

Tuning in: +1 Routine

Teachers brainstormed a list of all the pieces of information they knew about concept-based learning.

Staff Induction 16

Provocation: Dr. David Perkins

Teachers read this startling statement “90%  of what we teach in schools is a waste of time… it just doesn’t matter” and then watched this YouTube video of Dr. David Perkins to provoke their thinking about “what’s worth knowing?”

Finding Out & Sorting Out: Resource Exploration & Visible Thinking Routine +1

Teachers explored resources that we provided and added relevant ideas and information to their +1 routine.

Going Further: Key Concept Questions

Teachers brainstormed questions about the Kuwait Towers from each key concept lens.

Staff Induction 6

Making Conclusions: Visible Thinking Routine- Headlines


Teachers wrote a “headline” that summarized their current understanding of concept-based teaching and learning

Staff Induction 1

Reflection: Stop, Start, Continue

Teachers reflected on their learning so far and provided us with feedback about what we could “stop, start and continue” to better impact their learning about the PYP.

Week 5 – Attitudes and Skills

Taking Action: Reflecting on Concept-Based Learning

Teachers discussed how they had used the key concepts with their students.

Staff Induction 20

Tuning in: Skills and Attitudes as Learning Targets

Teachers experienced what it is like to have learning goals/targets structured through PYP attitudes and skills

Staff induction targets

Finding out: Making the PYP Happen Jigsaw

Teachers worked in partners to research either attitudes or skills in order to share their learning with their partner. Teachers inquired into the form and function of the attitudes and skills as described by the IB in Making the PYP Happen.

Going Further: Resource Exploration & Visible Thinking Routine- See, Think, Wonder


Teachers explored provided resources and organized relevant discoveries through the VTR “See, Think, Wonder”

Staff Induction 17

Reflection: Attitude Reflection

Teachers reflected and posted which PYP attitudes they used the most throughout their learning activities.

Staff Induction 4

Week 6 – Action 

Tuning in: Quick Write about action

Teachers took 3 minutes to write everything and anything about action in the PYP.

Staff Induction 19

Finding Out & Sorting Out: Making the PYP Happen & Visible Thinking Routine- 4Cs


Teachers read the section about action in MTPYPH and pulled out “connections, challenges, concepts and changes” based on the Visible Thinking Routine.

Staff Induction 18

Making Conclusions” Visible Thinking Routine- Colour, Symbol, Image


Teachers choose a colour, symbol and image to represent their understanding of action in the PYP.

Staff Induction 7

Week 7 – The Role of subjects in the PYP

Taking Action: Reflecting on action

Teachers discuss how they have supported student-initiated action in their teaching recently.

Tuning in: Teachers jotted down what subjects they think make up the PYP.

Finding out: Teachers split up into groups and each group inquired into the role of different subjects in the PYP.

staff induction subjects

Making Conclusions: Teachers presented their findings to each other.

Staff Induction 9 Staff Induction 8

Week 8 – Summative Sharing

Check out this post to see a full recap of the provocative “PYP test” and real PYP summative!

Week 9 – Personalized Learning Plan

Even though our new-to-PYP staff training was coming to an end we did not want the learning or support to stop. We helped our new-to-PYP staff develop Personalized Learning Plans for the remainder of their first year in the PYP.

Tuning in: Teachers reflected on their current learning about the PYP and identified areas they wanted to pursue further. They set their own “learning objectives” based on what they want to learn more about.

Finding Out & Sorting Out: Teachers explored the OCC and this google doc to find resources that would support each of their learning objectives. Teachers browsed, skimmed, bookmarked, printed, and copied links that would be of interest later on when they had time to dive in. The idea is to invest all the time it takes to find, vet and organize resources so that for the remainder of the year, if there is a pocket of time to learn you already have everything you need!

Staff Induction 21


After our last session, we knew what we had to do… REFLECT! So, true to our goal of treating this like a Unit of Inquiry, my partner and I sat down together and collaboratively completed the PYP unit reflections.

Staff Induction 23

We also completed an inquiry self-reflection to help us identify how many ‘signals of inquiry’ were present in our adult learning community and if there we any ‘warning bells’.

Staff Induction 22

We discovered that next year we need to work on noticing, honouring and using our learners’ questions more to drive the inquiry and better build an environment filled with wonder and curiosity. We also noticed that after 9 weeks our new-to-PYP teachers learned so much about the PYP yet we never “taught” them anything, in the traditional sense. There were no Powerpoints filled with information. There were no lectures. There was no standing and delivering. That felt good!

What a great experience it was to plan, deliver, assess and reflect on our new-to-PYP staff training as a PYP Unit of Inquiry! We can’t wait to have a second chance next year to put our reflections and new goals into action!

We would love your feedback about our Unit of Inquiry! Please share your questions, comments, connections and suggestions with us. 

28 thoughts on “PYP New Staff Induction as a Unit of Inquiry

  1. Nicola April 15, 2016 / 1:53 pm

    These ideas are fantastic. I would love to use/build on some of them when developing my own professional development. Would that be ok? Many thanks.


    • tbondclegg April 15, 2016 / 3:49 pm

      Absolutely! If you want to chat more about it or if you want any of the resources or materials we used send me a direct message on Twitter @makingoodhumans

      Liked by 1 person

      • Nikki April 15, 2016 / 6:33 pm

        Hi Taryn, I tried to direct message you on Twitter but you can only DM people who follow you… :-/


      • tbondclegg April 15, 2016 / 7:22 pm

        Let me know your handle and I will follow you 🙂


      • Fatima Ibrahim June 6, 2017 / 7:49 pm

        Hi there, I would love to do this with the my new staff that are coming in. I would love to chat more with you about the resources you used and other details. My email address is…. what a great idea!!!!!


  2. Bitia August 3, 2016 / 1:52 pm

    Hi! I’m also interested in resources and materials to develop our PD. I don’t have a twitter account. Would you be willing to email it to me?


    • tbondclegg August 3, 2016 / 2:25 pm

      Absolutely! Send me your email address. 🙂


      • Bitia August 4, 2016 / 10:15 pm I found the link that said PYP resources (which is AMAZING!) I just couldn’t find the articles that said were attached. I think most of them were the PDFs. I cannot express enough how thankful I am to have found this blog. This is my first year as PYP coordinator and was feeling overwhelmed- this has definitely given me some clarity. Thank you so very much!


      • tbondclegg August 5, 2016 / 2:04 am

        It’s my pleasure! I remember being in that same position a short while ago, and I am happy to help in anyway I can. Most of the files are at my work computer, so once I’m back at school I will send some goodies your way! Are you on Twitter? It is immeasurably helpful as a new coordinator to connect with other PYP coordinators and to find photos and videos of classrooms around the world who are making the PYP happen to share with the teachers you support. If you need help getting started on Twitter let me know. Good luck! 🙂


      • Bitia August 5, 2016 / 1:41 pm

        Just opened an account and am now following you 😉


      • Jeremy August 7, 2016 / 9:53 am

        Hi there – I am in a similar situation and would also dearly love the opportunity to look at the resources and materials to help effectively induct the new staff…I am new in the role and feeling fairly overwhelmed so whatever help and advice you could offer would be extremely appreciated! Thanking you! Jeremy


      • tbondclegg August 7, 2016 / 2:21 pm

        Hi Jeremy, no problem. Either leave me your email address or add me to Twitter were we can DM each other.


  3. Emma Stafford August 30, 2016 / 5:07 am

    Hi! This is my first full year as PYPC (last year I filled in on a Mat Leave) and would also love the resources! I am beginning my new staff induction this afternoon with a short introduction to the PYP, but your blog has inspired me to take their learning further throughout the next few months!


  4. Shalini Fate October 22, 2016 / 5:09 pm

    Hi…what an excellent way of giving the teachers an experience of how inquiry looks like, sounds like, feels like. I liked the thinking tools used throout the presentation and look forward to see more resources if you can share. I am also working as PYPC and lijes your idea of training new teachers in authentic ways.


    • tbondclegg October 23, 2016 / 2:08 pm

      Thanks Shalini! It was a really wonderful experience. Their “summatives” were the best part. I was so excited to see what they had learned. 🙂


  5. Sidra Khurram October 23, 2016 / 12:56 pm

    Thank you so much. This is so fabulously planned. This aS required from a long time. This sample has triggered many more ideas in my mind. You have given a very clear sample. Thank you once again.


    • tbondclegg October 23, 2016 / 2:10 pm

      My pleasure Sidra! Best of luck! 🙂


  6. Ruth-Ann Gilstrap November 2, 2016 / 3:22 am

    This is absolutely helpful. Great perspectives were presented. May I ask permission to use the s,trategies for training our Support Staff.


    • tbondclegg November 2, 2016 / 3:26 am

      Absolutely! I would love to hear how it goes as well! 🙂


  7. Leonie November 20, 2016 / 7:13 am

    Hi, I am a new PYP co-ordinator for our candidacy school in New Zealand. We are just finishing our first year and it has been a steep learning curve for all! Taking over at this point in the school year, I am entrusted with the induction of new staff in February. We have not had this task before as we all started together on our journey in January. This process you have worked through looks amazing. Are you happy for me to use some of the content in your presentation?


  8. Jabbie Rosairo November 28, 2016 / 2:31 pm

    Hi! Would it be possible to share the resources and materials you used? With your permission, I would like to do this next school year. 🙂
    My email address is:


  9. Pauline December 7, 2017 / 4:26 pm

    Hi! This has been absolutely enriching!!! I am going to a brand new school where all 10 teachers are very new to PYP. I need your advise on how best I can help them as I am going there as a coordinator.


  10. approachinglearning September 7, 2018 / 12:01 am

    This is wonderful thank you Taryn! I am starting an Induction programme a bit later than planned and I am in class full-time so I may borrow heavily from your ideas here! I will of course credit you for them! I was looking to organise it as a Unit of Inquiry anyway and I am going to put my version of this onto a planner and share it with my group as we go along.
    Thank you!


  11. Beth September 24, 2018 / 6:15 pm

    Hi Taryn, this is great!!! I only wish I had as many sessions as you did with your new teachers. I’ve got far less than that…any advice/ideas/suggestions?


  12. Stephanie November 13, 2018 / 1:36 pm

    Hi, this has been a really insightful way of looking at induction. I was just curious as to how you have adapted this to accommodate the enhanced PYP?


  13. Shabnam February 8, 2019 / 9:48 am

    Hi Taryn,

    This is wonderful ! Thank you so much for sharing. I am new in the role of a PYP coordinator and am preparing to conduct an induction for our new set of teachers. Would be delighted and very grateful if you could share some of your resources and activities as these would go a long way in helping me out.


  14. ginalyn delizo June 25, 2019 / 8:58 am

    Thank you for sharing. I am also a new PYP Coordinator, please allow me to use this next year. Thank you.


  15. . July 29, 2019 / 10:16 pm

    These ideas are fantastic. I am a teacher seeking to move into PYP and this has given me a wonderful starting point for self-directing my own learning. I would love to use/build on of your ideas to adapt to our use of HPL (High Performance Learning) as an induction for new staff. If you would be happy to share any resources for both my own professional development and to build on/adapt for our approach I would be so grateful.


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