IB Primary Years Programme

Reflective activity 4:

  • The similarities and difference of PYP and CfE.

IB’s Primary Years Programme (PYP) encourages teachers to deliver child focused learning, to help them make meaning for themselves, constructing knowledge. Engagement comes from delivering a bigger picture, with big ideas. It is also about the children learning together and from each other, from different countries around the world and creating new ideas together, in a variety of ways.  PYP is also very focussed on reflection, so that pupils know what they have done very well and what they still need to do to reach their goal. PYP is known as not being a curriculum but as an approach instead, so instead of focusing on one subject such an English, they use cross curricular learning. An example used in the video was that the children were learning about plants, but this was not only science based, it led to the discussion and exploration of deforestation and the impact of this on people, bringing in social studies. The PYP gives the children a good start in letting them understand these connections. In CfE we do use interdisciplinary learning and combine subjects together, but I think that perhaps the difference between the IB and CfE is that the IB is more progressive and flexible, as the practice reflects itself constantly.

When reading about the PYP, one thing which really stood out for me is that children above the age of seven get the opportunity to learn more than one language, although in CfE there is a chance to learn languages, I don’t think there is as much of a focus on this and not as many opportunities in this particular area, and it shows that CfE and the IB do differ in some ways. Another way in which I see that they differ is the IB mission. This mission aims to:

“Develop inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people who help to create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect.”

Curriculum for Excellence also aims to create knowledgeable and caring people who are responsible citizens and effectively contributes, but the focus is mainly on the community that they live in. Although the aim is to also contribute to the world, the focus is much more on community whereas for the IB it is much more about global contribution

The Exhibition in the IB is about the final year of the programme. This is where pupils are required to suggest solutions for real life issues and problems, this prepares the pupils for life beyond school. This aligns with CfE as real-life issues are also discussed, they are also explored deeper to allow understanding to occur. This is where the two programmes are similar, they both focus a lot of what is happening in the world and share the importance of knowing what is happening in the world and how we can be affecting this.

Another similarity between the two programmes is that the IB programme aims through the six PYP subject areas: language, maths, science, social studies, arts and Personal, social and physical education. The areas in curriculum for excellence are almost identical: expressive arts, health and wellbeing, languages, maths, sciences, social studies, religious and moral education and technologies. One of the largest and most significant differences between the two programmes is that PYP is much more focussed on languages as there is opportunity to learn more languages. These are also learnt at a much younger age, starting at age 7. This aims to widen opportunities for communication around the world and participation in the world, building and supporting these connections for younger generations.

Overall the IB and CfE have very similar aims and goals. The values and morals in their teachings are very similar and affective teaching styles. The biggest difference between the two curriculums, I believe, is that the IB focusses on learning much more globally.

 

 

Educational Trends

Reflective Activity 3:

  • Which of ‘progressive’ trends align with CfE?

Firstly, in the 1960’s the traditional way of teaching was very different to what it is now. It was much more teacher-centred with only right and wrong answers, with not much room for exploring knowledge. It mainly focused on facts the children had to memorise and undergoing tests to see how well they could remember these facts. Children’s IQ’s would be compared to the average child and looking at constructive criticism, showing the children what progress they already had made to keep the motivated, was not something that was done. Finally, every child was given the same material in the same format, whereas now teaching is suited to each individual child’s needs.

Many times, I have heard that the world is expanding in knowledge, which is very true. But, it is expanding so rapidly that it is impossible to give children all the knowledge they need in the 21st century. Now, the focus is on giving children a toolkit which will enable them to be lifelong learners. This includes critical thinking, analysing information. Learning is now much broader, with a lot more culture involved in the learning, more perspectives to give pupils a clear idea of all the possibilities.   When reading this (specify) document and looking at the Education Trends (by the 1960’s) the history of the IB shows the transition from traditional to progressive trends, these align with CfE impressively and many of the progressive trends I have seen in my own teaching experience. Traditionally children were taught to memorise information, such as the times tables. But now in the progressive trend, critical analysis is used. Now children are taught how knowledge interlinks and shown different methods in understanding so that this is engraved deep in their minds, not just memorised for testing purposes.

This leads me smoothly onto the progressive trend in the IB of multiple perspectives, I understand this to be showing children different methods of learning so that they choose the method which works for them, but I also understand it as enabling the children to develop their own informed opinions about the world around them. All which is also a trend in CfE. Student choice, child-centred and constructivism are also very important progressive trends part of the IB. These I greatly saw on my placement and used in practice. Whatever the lesson and task, the children needed to be given constructive criticism and feedback, to allow them to take responsibility for their own learning. Thus, enabling the children to know how they are progressing and allowing them to make informed decisions about their own learning.

Education of the whole child is, I believe, related to the responsibility of all teachers. In the traditional trend academic intelligence was the focus, whereas now health and well being, mathematics and literacy are all the responsibility of each teacher in CfE. I believe this is another alignment between the IB and CfE as academic intelligence is not the only thing children now gain at schools, but also learning about themselves, their personalities, what their likes and dislikes are and how to live a long and healthy life beyond the school life. Overall, I believe that the progressive trends align prominently and have many similarities, they are both very pupil-centred and focus on giving each individual child the tools they need to live a happy and successful life.

The International Baccalaureate

Reflective Activity One and Two:

  • How do the IB aims align with the main aims of CfE?

Firstly, there are 4 main aims of Curriculum for Excellence, these are:

  • Successful Learners, learners who can express their thinking and thoughts, meet challenges with a positive attitude and come up with the innovative solutions to problems.
  • Confident Individuals, these are individuals who are determined, have learnt about self-awareness, discipline is committed and confident in their learning. Showing this through drawing upon their knowledge, experiences, feelings and ideas.
  • Responsible Citizens: These are student that can explore ethical questions, respond to issues that are social and personal as well as develop morals and views.
  • Effective Contributors: this focuses on the ability for learners to express themselves creatively, work with others in a collaborative and cooperative way, showing initiative, leadership and enterprise.

These are known as the four capacities. The four contexts for learning are: Curriculum areas and subjects, Interdisciplinary learning, Ethos and life of the school, Opportunities for personal achievement.

After watching the video, I can see a very strong link and alignment between the aims of the IB and CfE. The IB aims are much more broken down, with very specific definitions. They are broken into 10 aims instead of four, but they cover very similar, if not the same aspects:

IB learners strive to be Inquirers, these are learners who ask powerful and knowledgeable questions to expand their learning and be lifelong learners. Knowledgeable learners are those the IB strive not only to explore locally but globally. They also strive for their learners to be:

  • Thinkers: Make decisions which are well thought out and many options have been investigated.
  • Communicators: Good listeners and confident in more than one language. This is very similar to confident individuals in CfE.
  • Principled: This is a large focus on the sort of people these students become, which is honest, fair and responsible.
  • Open- minded: This is focussed on developing critical appreciation for not only your own culture but for other cultures you may come across and explore.
  • Caring: Committed to serving the community, this aligns greatly with responsible citizens in CfE.
  • Risk takers: Courageous, resourceful and resilient.
  • Balanced: Taking care of personal wellbeing for themselves and those around them.
  • Reflective: thoughtful, realistic and hopeful for the future.

IB is highly focussed on their students, help them to become lifelong learner, which is also a focus in CfE. IB education help build understanding through enquiry and reflection, using independent research to gain understanding and is not only about their own knowledge but also about what else they can do. IB students are globally engaged, help face local and global challenges. Students learn content that is worth knowing and make connection through many fields of study. I would say that CfE is not as focussed globally as the IB, the IB really emphasises this area impressively. The IB aims to remove barriers and boundaries by improving pupil’s knowledge of other countries, their languages and culture. This is to build intercultural learning, understanding and respect towards every individual, enabling collaboration with others.

  • Have you experienced any aspect of the IB aims when working with children or in your own education?

I have experienced many aspects of the IB aims as a pupil myself and when working with pupils. I believe this is because many of the IB aims are like those of CfE. The only ones which I would say are not as closely looked at is how global the IB is. There are languages done in schools but there is not such a focus on it as there is within the IB, which is what makes the IB so unique. During each school day, as a student teacher is as trying to develop the children numeracy, literacy and Health & Wellbeing, which aligns with the IB. In contrast, when on placement I did get to experience seeing French lessons being taught, as well as looking at War and Peace across the globe now, not in the past but what is happening in the world currently. So, this shows that CfE does have some focus globally put perhaps isn’t recognised as globally as the IB. As a student teacher I have also experienced how important being aware of other people’s culture and background is in this profession and in teaching. The IB programme also aligns with CfE as it focuses on the teaching to be successful in the way that it is engaging, thought provoking, significant, challenging and relative. These characteristics will build pupils into successful learners, confident individuals, responsible citizens and effective contributors. Both the IB and CfE focus on creating a safe, healthy and successful environment.

Scientific Literacy

Scientific literacy is the knowledge and understanding of scientific concepts and processes required for everyday experiences, for example decision making. Scientific literacy allows a person to read or hear an article or newspaper online and decide on its validity. A literate person should be able to evaluate the worth of certain scientific information based on the sources and methods used to produce the conclusion or argument appropriately. It is important for educators to give students the opportunity to develop their understanding of scientific concepts and processes and show how they relate to our society. Without scientific literacy children are more likely to buy into false scientific facts and findings.

According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, scientific literacy is, “the capacity to use scientific knowledge, to identify questions and to draw evidence-based conclusions.” (OECD, 2003) Without this there would be no evidential backing to many scientific theories and scientific knowledge. The reason that science, for many people makes sense, is because everything is backed up with evidence and research. However, there are many times in the media where scientific literature is used incorrectly, or even not at all. An article written by Ben Goldacre (2016) explains how many new drug trials and testing do not give an accurate idea of how good the drug is. This is due to a lack of testing and a small amount of people in the trials. Without this explicit scientific data, there is no way a correct conclusion can be made about the new drugs. If proper testing was carried out, there would be a higher chance new drugs would either be more effective or pulled before being released to the public to save people having undue side effects. This also gives people the wrong impression of drug trials, as the lack of concrete scientific evidence means there is no proof, however if this is missed out completely in media then nobody will think bad of it.

How teaching Fair testing in schools links to scientific literacy:

A fair test is an experiment where you change one factor (variable) at a time whilst keeping all other factors and conditions the same. For example, if you are measuring what object travels fastest down a ramp you would only change the object and not the angle of the ramp or the force the object is pushed with.

Fair testing is taught throughout primary school with the help of other science topics. Through this, children develop skills and independence in planning and performing fair tests.

Fair testing is taught throughout the curriculum and not as a separate topic a it involves a variety of skills. Children will use fair testing as a way to investigate questions within every science topic from plants to forces.

Fair testing links to scientific literacy as it shows “knowledge and understanding of scientific concepts and processes required for personal decision making” (discover magazine). Children require specific skills to carry out fair testing that shows they have adequate scientific literacy for that stage they are working at.

References:

Science Buddies (Undated) Available at: https://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/science-fair/doing-a-fair-test-variables-for-beginners (Accessed on: 9th February)

What is a fair test? (Undated) Available at: (https://www.theschoolrun.com/what-is-a-fair-test, (Accessed: 9th February)

Kirshenbaum, S (2009) ‘ What is Scientific Literacy?’, Discover (March), Available at: http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/intersection/2009/03/17/what-is-scientific-literacy/#.WoA1qFJ0egQ (Accessed: 9th February)

OECD [Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development] (2003) The PISA 2003 Assessment Framework – Mathematics, Reading, Science and Problem-Solving Knowledge and Skills. Paris: OECD.

Goldacre, B. (2016) The Cancer Drugs Fund is producing dangerous, bad data: randomise everyone, everywhere! Available at: http://www.badscience.net/2016/09/the-cancer-drugs-fund-is-producing-dangerous-bad-data-randomise-everyone-everywhere/ (Accessed 11 February 2018).