Introduction to International Baccalaureate

Reflective Activity 1

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

The aims of CfE focus on providing pupils with not just the knowledge but also the skills and attributes they need to develop into responsible citizens. This aligns with IB in their aim to create pupils who are “active and compassionate” and work towards a more peaceful world.

Both CfE and IB also have a focus on creating lifelong learners by encouraging pupils to learn more about what interests them and contributing to the world around them.

Furthermore, both curriculum aim to complete this by creating a classroom which centres around the child and creates a welcoming learning environment.


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

 During my MA1 placement I was able to witness several of the IB in the classroom. During one of their topics on festivals around the world the class was encouraged learn about a wide variety of cultures, many of which they had never experienced before. This reinforced the IB’s aim of creating global citizens. Another aim I experienced was the fact that the classroom was centred around the learner as when starting a new topic pupils has the opportunity to suggest what they would like to learn within it.


Reflective Activity 2

Compare and contrast the IB Learner Profile attributes with CfE’s four capacities. What are the similarities and differences?


CfE capacity – Successful learners, IB attribute – Inquirers, both of these attributes focus on creating pupils who are lifelong learners and enjoy what they are learning

CfE capacity – Confident individuals, IB attribute – Thinkers, these focus on pupils who are able to make decisions and using skills they have been taught to learn new things

CfE capacity – Responsible citizens, IB attribute – Caring, these focus on pupils working towards improving their own community and ones further afield.

CfE capacity – Effective contributors, IB attribute – Balanced, these attributes focus on pupils recognising how people work together throughout their lives



While both CfE and IB a very similar in their pupil attributes IB tends to focus on a more global scale. This is most seen in the communicator attribute, which has a large focus on expressing themselves in more than one language. While this is taught in schools in Scotland there does not seem to be as large a focus on it as there is in IB.



Which of ‘progressive’ trends align with CfE?

Range of skills testing – Assessment is a vital part of CfE and in recent years it has moved away from the traditional methods of testing. It now uses a range of methods to suit each pupils needs, including formative and summative assessment.

Student choice – This links to the CfE idea of personalisation and choice where pupils are able to choose what level they work at. It also gives pupils the opportunity to decide as a class what they want to learn.

Education of the whole child – This idea focuses on the fact that education should not just focus on the knowledge of the child but their mental, emotional and physical health. CfE teaches this trough the subject of Health and Wellbeing.

Transdisciplinary – CfE uses this to focus on providing a child with a rounded education so that they “knowledge, skills and attributes needed for life in the 21st century”.



Reflect upon the similarities and difference of PYP and CfE.

IB and CfE have a large focus in transdisciplinary learning throughout all of the subjects in the classroom. This linking of subjects enhances learning for pupils and encourages them to look at learning a different way.

While both curriculums focus on pupils learning about the world around them the scale of these vary. CfE focuses on a more local level, such as woodlands, whereas IB works on a more global scale with pupils learning about world cultures

CfE and IB are similar in the way they allow pupils input in learning. CfE brings this in with the personalisation and choice principle. Despite this in CfE pupils are still more reliant on their teacher while IB students seem to be granted more independence in their learning.

Scientific Literacy and Education

AC1 – Explanation of the concept of scientific literacy;

Scientific literacy is an often-misunderstood term and in recent years, with the increasing demand to make scientific literacy more known in schools, it is more important now than ever to ensure we have the correct understanding of what it means to be scientifically literate.  In this assignment, we will go into more depth about what scientific literacy is and how this can be taught is schools; and also, the impacts of a lack of scientific literacy, especially within the media.

Many see scientific literacy in primary school as learning to spell scientific vocabulary or completing a science-based comprehension. However, while these may be useful for scientific knowledge, they do not teach children scientific literacy.

In a book discussing science in education, it is stated that “scientific literacy is the knowledge and understanding of scientific concepts and processes required for personal decision making, participation in civic and cultural affairs, and economic productivity” (National Research Council, 1996). This means that people who are scientifically literate should be able to apply their knowledge of scientific concepts to everyday life and be able to confidently explain the theory behind these concepts. They also have the responsibility to dispute reports and inaccurate publicising of scientific information.

AC2 – Analysis of an example where a lack of scientific literacy has led to inaccurate media reporting;

An example of a lack of scientific literacy was a paper written by Dr Andrew Wakefield. He claimed that there was a link between the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine and autism. He stated that the combination of the three viruses contained in the vaccine may overload the body’s immune system and that there was evidence that children’s behaviour changed after getting the MMR vaccine. This led to a range of inaccurate media reporting. In turn, the number of children receiving the vaccine dropped significantly as parents were concerned about the risk of autism. This has resulted in preventable outbreaks of measles, such as one in California in 2014 where schools had to be closed.

However, it has been stated that there is, in fact, no link between MMR and autism. After carrying out a study with around 95,000 children, scientists have discredited the work of Andrew Wakefield after publishing their study in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Parents have been reassured that the MMR vaccine is safe for their children. After a hearing at the General Medical Council on 28th January 2010, it was ruled that Wakefield acted unethically in his research.

 AC3 – Discussion of how teaching fair testing in school science links to scientific literacy;

It is extremely important for children to be able to gain a good understanding about fair testing. Fair testing allows children to be able to assess and produce accurate results when conducting scientific experiments in the classroom. The concept of fair testing is that only one variable in the experiment is changed at any one time, however, every other variable has to stay the same throughout the experiment. For example, “when testing various brands of kitchen paper to find out which is most absorbent, pupils learn that the size of the sheet of paper and the volume of water used are among the variables that must be controlled if the results are to be accurate” (Inspectorate Evaluation Studies, 2008). Therefore, fair testing in school science has an impact on scientific literacy, as it is important that children understand that changing a variable has an impact on the outcome of the experiment and will allow them to have a greater understanding of the experiment as a whole. Teaching fair testing allows the children to understand that there are no deliberate advantages or disadvantages within the experiment to any of the variables. Therefore, making the information reliable. Fair testing is linked to scientific literacy as the children will be able to perform the experiment and analyse the results. This will allow greater understanding of specific concepts in depth as they will be able to identify the problems within in the experiment.



BBC News (2008) MMR Research Timeline. Available at:  (Accessed 9th February 2018)

Inspectorate Evaluation Studies (2008) Science in the Primary School. Marlborough Street, Dublin: Inspectorate, Evaluation Support and Research Unit, p. 4. Available at: (Accessed: 11 February 2018).

National Research Council (1996) Available from:

The Guardian (2015) No link between MMR and autism, major study concludes. Available at: (Accessed 9th February 2018)

The National Health Service (2015) MMR Vaccine. Available at:  (Accessed: 9th February 2018)


Emily Henry, Neve Fordyce, Chloe Davidson, Emma Whiteman and Jennifer Laird

Resource Allocation Task

Our resource allocation workshop last Tuesday, as part of our values module, reiterated a very important message to me; no matter a child’s background, social standing or economic wealth, they should all be given the same resources and opportunities. It also taught me that even if we realise a situation is prejudiced we may do nothing to stop it or we may not even realise at all.

At first our task seemed simple, create a product for new students using only the resources given to you in a brown envelope. When my group received our envelope, we opened it excitedly unsure what we would find inside. We were disappointed, inside we found a single post-it note, a pencil, an elastic band and three paperclips. This left us annoyed, what on earth could we make with these. And it got even worse, when we looked at those around us some of the groups had multiple sheets of paper in various different colours, felt tip pens and coloured pencils, some were even lucky enough to have glue and rulers. Having only 5 minutes to think of an idea our group tried to organise our thoughts and think of what we could make with our limited resources. We eventually came up with the idea of making a map of the university campus. Though we were unsure how we were going to make it, we knew that it would be a helpful product as we had all struggled to find out way around campus and find certain buildings.

As we listened to the other groups brief the rest of the room on their ideas we all began to feel quite discouraged, as we felt because of our limitation of resources we weren’t able to make as useful a product. This feeling got even worse as our lecturer seem bored and uninterested in our idea, and anytime we asked for advice we received short answers and we felt like we were a nuisance.

As we were creating our product we began to enjoy ourselves as we felt we may as well make the best of the situation.  We also ended up having to the envelope that the resources came in as the base of our map, which we all found funny.

After we had all presented our final products our lecturer told us she would be giving each group feedback and a score out of ten. My group wasn’t exactly expecting the highest mark but we knew we had done our best, and we thought that counted for something.

When we were given our final score of two out of ten we didn’t know what to think, how can it be fair that we were graded so harshly when we had so much less than everybody else. That was when we realised what this exercise was really about;  to show us that it is easy for those who have everything they need to receive all of the attention while those with less are left to the side and ignored. Our lecturer was purposely ignoring the two groups who had the least resources. I thought this was a great way to teach us this lesson as if we had listened to it in a lecture we wouldn’t have fully taken it in. Whereas by experiencing it personally we were able to fully understand the injustice.

What I also found interesting was that the groups who had more resources admitted that they did not notice that other groups had less or they did not think to give the other groups spare resources that they weren’t using. For me personally I found it a really interesting experience that I will remember throughout all my placements and the rest of my teaching career.

Welcome to your WordPress eportfolio

Welcome to your ePortfolio. This is where you will document and share your professional thoughts and experiences over the course of your study at the University of Dundee and beyond that when you begin teaching. You have the control over what you want to make public and what you would rather keep on a password protected page.

The ePortfolio in the form of this WordPress blog allows you to pull in material from other digital sources:

You can pull in a YouTube video:

You can pull in a Soundcloud audio track:

You can upload an image or pull one in from Flickr or any other image sharing site.

Teacher, Lorraine Lapthorne conducts her class in the Grade Two room at the Drouin State School, Drouin, Victoria

You can just about pull in anything that you think will add substance and depth to your writing.