• ATL - Approaches to teaching and learning

    ATL - Approaches to Teaching and Learning

    At the heart of all IB programmes lies Approaches to Teaching and Learning. The IB recognises that we must think about how we teach as well as what we teach, and that students develop the skills needed to develop the attributes of the Learner Profile and to become global citizens. 

    This is described through five categories of Approaches to Learning (ATL) skills and six approaches to teaching common across all Programmes: 

    Approaches to learning Approaches to teaching
    • thinking skills
    • communication skills
    • social skills
    • self-management skills
    • research skills
    • inquiry-based
    • concept-based
    • contextualised
    • collaborative
    • differentiated
    • informed by assessment

    Invite our experienced workshop leader Malcolm Nicolson into your school for a one or two-day, in-school workshop which aims to integrate the approaches into your MYP and/or DP.

    Send an email to brad@philpoteducation.com for more information.

    Sample agenda - 1 day workshop

    Our workshop leader will tailor the agenda to your school's specific needs

    Session 1

    • Review ATL understanding and its structure in IB teaching and learning
    • Why are ATL skills important and what are employers and universities looking for?
    • Organising teaching of ATL skills
    • Mapping generic and subject-specific ATL skills
    • Inquiry-based teaching and learning to develop concepts through contexts

    Session 2

    • Assessment and reporting of ATL skills
    • Metacognition
    • Teaching informed by assessment

    Session 3

    • Collaboration & teamwork
    • Inclusive practices
    • Designing strategies to teach ATL skills

    Session 4

    • Unit planning - designing units through inquiry to develop ATL skills
    • Individual and departmental action plans
    • Reflection

    Praise for Malcolm Nicolson

    "Malcolm Nicolson's visit was a hugely beneficial experience for our school. Staff were energized and the leadership team has certainly benefitted from the external perspective. We look forward to future visits" - Kerry Gray, Vice Principal, International School of the Hague

    "Malcolm has a great vision for the future and how students can realise their own potential in shaping our world. His work can inspire this generation of learners to help create a more restorative and regenerative economy, through a project-based, interdisciplinary curriculum and meaningful connection to your local community.” - Schools & Colleges Programme Manager, Ellen MacArthur Foundation


    Workshop leader

    Malcolm Nicolson
    After teaching in the UK, Bahamas and Thailand, Malcolm became Head of MYP Development for the IB from 2007 till 2013 and Head of Diploma Programme Development from 2013 to 2015. Malcolm initiated and directed MYP: the next chapter, the first whole programme review conducted by the IB. He designed the conceptual curriculum model with an emphasis on skills in context. As Head of Diploma Programme (DP) Development, he introduced ATL (Approaches to Teaching and Learning) to the DP and authored DP: From principles into practice (2015) and initiated research into student workload and flexibility in the DP.

    Malcolm NicolsonMalcolm Nicolson