The MYP Personal Project: Endless Opportunities

The MYP Personal Project: Endless Opportunities

by Rebekah Madrid, MS Vice Principal /MYP Coordinator/Personal Project Coordinator

Have you ever wanted to be given permission to study something you have always wanted to know more about? Have you ever had an opportunity to delve deeply into an area of interest or been encouraged to study something that was outside the normal school day? For me, if given the chance, I would love to really practice meditation or just go back to being a full-time history student for a little while. Or maybe I’d just learn how to cross-stitch or make an app to help organize my life. The opportunities are endless. For our MYP students, the Personal Project (PP) is the opportunity to conduct  an independent inquiry into an area of personal interest. The PP is undertaken in Gr. 10. Students are given time and are assigned a teacher-mentor to allow them to truly learn about something that is meaningful to them. Over the four months of the project, the students took full advantage of this chance to study a whole range of topics. 
It is truly encouraging to see the breadth of interests that our students have. When you look at some of the goals from this year, it is apparent how fascinating, diverse, and thoughtful our students are. The topics included: 

  • Create a video raising awareness about the issue of female safety on public transport.
  • Make an architectural model of some of our new campus.
  • Build a large battlefield of Warcraft miniatures to show time management skills.
  • Make a eco-friendly travel guide that motivates people to explore the world.
  • Learn about the future of cockpit automation in commercial aviation.
  • Write and perform a song that helps increase concentration.
  • Inform people of the relationship between music and fashion, and the cycle of trends & the psychology behind it. 
  • Gain an understanding of how early monitor systems are being implemented to effectively diagnose dementia.

In addition to being an opportunity to study something outside of the normal classroom material, the PP also develops the skills to communicate, create, and share their ideas. Students created action plans, success criteria and reflected on what skills they used to achieve their goals. Reflection is an integral component of the PP as it is through reflection that students are able to identify what they have learned and how they can take that learning into other areas of school life. So when students submitted their final report and project in September they had plenty to celebrate. 

This year was particularly novel because YIS was selected to be part of the IB Pilot Personal Project which gave us an opportunity to try new PP specifications. Our students and teachers will give the IB feedback on the new system and experience. As the PP is the culmination of the MYP program for all MYP schools, our feedback will have an impact far beyond Yokohama. This has been a dynamic process for our students, as they weren’t able to rely on upperclassmen for advice. The process has empowered them to try new things, provide feedback and finish the PP a little earlier. 

We would like to invite the entire YIS community to this year’s Personal Project Exhibition on Thursday, November 7, starting at 7:00pm in the main building and library. This will be a chance for you to talk to the students about their learning, learn more about their topics, and perhaps share your own knowledge and interests with them. The exhibition will be held during the day November 7 as well so please feel free to visit if you cannot attend the community event that evening.