Reflective Activity 1: making links between the IB curriculum and CfE.
The International Baccalaureate (IB) is a programme of education which covers children from the ages of 3 to 19. Like the Curriculum for Excellence (CfE) programme which covers children from age 3 to 18, the IB holds various aims. The aims of the IB are as follows:
- To develop young people who are curious, knowledgeable and solicitous who can help towards producing a better and more peaceful world through better understanding and respecting all cultures.
- To work with schools; governments and international organisations to develop stimulating programmes of global education and rigorous assessment.
- To inspire students worldwide to become active, compassionate and lifelong learners who appreciate that other people, with their differences, can also be right.
(International Baccalaureate, 2015).
Similar to this, the aim of the CfE is to help children and young people develop the knowledge, skills and attributes needed for life in the 21st century, including skills for learning, life and work (Education Scotland, Undated). Both of these programmes are aiming to support young people to enjoy learning by making education relevant and providing children with lifelong skills. In both IB and CfE, the learner is at the centre and creating a learner that is going to be passionate about their lifelong education is the main purpose.
Reflective Activity 2: IB’s core attributes and the CfE’s 4 capacities
The IB’s learner profile outlines 10 core attributes which all IB learners should endeavour to be:
(International Baccalaureate, 2013)
Together, these qualities define what it means to be internationally minded and will support learners in becoming responsible members of worldwide communities.
In the CfE, we look at the 4 capacities:
- Successful learners;
- Confident individuals;
- Responsible citizens;
- Effective contributors
(Education Scotland, Undated).
These are both similar ideas in that both programmes believe that these are the qualities that young people need to enable them to make a difference in the future. Looking at the Responsible Citizens factor of the CfE, this gives children the opportunity to develop knowledge and understanding of the world, different cultures and beliefs. This is similar to where the IB aim for children to be open-minded and appreciate all different cultures and beliefs. Similarities occur like this when looking at all 10 of the attributes in IB – the majority can be slotted under one of the 4 capacities. However, when looking at these I did notice that the main difference between these is that IB looks at everything in a worldwide sense, as opposed to CfE’s more local focus.
The IB’s attribute of being open-minded holds a focus on developing appreciation for all cultures, which is something that I witnessed taking place throughout my first-year placement (Cambridge High School, 2015). Whilst I was there, the class learned about Jewish cultural and were also moving on to explore Indian cultural towards the end of my time there. Upon seeing this as well as teaching some lessons on this, I realised how important it is that children are taught about different cultures in order to understand and respect others around them. Another of the core attributes of the IB is to be caring (Cambridge High School, 2015). In terms of providing service within the community, I have both participated in this myself and also seen it happening within a volunteering position in a school. At my high school, a group of musicians would attend a bowling club and a care home each Christmas and perform for them. While volunteering in a school, early year classes were given the opportunity to go to a local park and plant flowers or vegetables. These are both ideas which can teach children and young people how to be a valued member of a community.
Reflective Activity 3: Educational trends
On initial glance at the progressive trends documentation of the IB, I could see links to the CfE in words such as “student choice” and “child-centred” (International Baccalaureate, 2017). Upon looking longer, I was reminded a little bit of the 7 principles of the CfE (Education Scotland, Undated). For example, student choice fits well together in the personalisation and choice principle. I have witnessed elements of student choice in classrooms in terms of children being given a choice of topic occasionally, or what their next sport would be to focus on in PE. Another of the progressive trends which is also seen is some CfE schools is open-plan rooms. These are great for the idea of learning being child-centred, as not all children can learn in an enclosed space, so having an open area allows them the opportunity to spread their learning further in a way.
Another of the progressive trends is constructivism. This is an educational theory which was developed by Vygotsky and suggested that learning is a process which requires collaboration in order to work (Cremin et al, 2014). The importance of this is gradually become acknowledged more and more and is something which can be seen in a CfE classroom through groupwork and discussions.
I’m sure that these are only a few of the ways that the progressive trends align with the CfE, but they are the ones that jumped out at me first when I read the list.
Reflective Activity 4: PYP and CfE
- In the PYP programme, children learn more than 1 language once they are at the age of 7. Within the CfE, a first additional language is brought in usually in primary one (age 5). The Scottish Government is beginning to bring in a ‘1+2 Approach’ to languages which means that children will be introduced to their first additional language in primary one and then a second additional language from no later than primary 5. This is in line with the CfE and the hope to enable the young people of the future to communicate globally more effectively.
- Another similarity between the PYP and the CfE curricula is their subject areas:
Ø Social Studies
Ø Arts (Expressive Arts under CfE)
Ø Personal, Social and Physical Education (Health and Wellbeing under CfE)
While these are the shared subject areas, CfE includes two more subject areas: Religious and Moral Education (RME); and Technologies. The PYP framework does mention that technologies is something that is a focus in their curriculum, but unlike the CfE they do not have a specific lesson for this rather it is incorporated throughout their learning.
- Both PYP and CfE understand the importance of outdoor learning and ensure that this is incorporated into lessons.
- Both curricula have a focus on learning being child-centred and being relevant to life – this being one of the seven principles of CfE and being incorporated into the six transdisciplinary themes of PYP.
- The biggest difference I have noticed between the two curricula is that, although the CfE does consider a global effect of learning in terms of learning about different cultures in RME and learning languages, the PYP is a lot more focussed on the global effect of every aspect of each child’s learning.
- The PYP curriculum is used for children age 3-12. The CfE is split into levels. Generally between the ages of 3 and 5 children will be working at early level; age 5 to 8 will be working at first level; and age 9 to 12 will be second level. However, these are not set in stone. Some children may be 9 and still working at first level, for example.
- Another thing which I have noticed is that within PYP transdisciplinary learning is largely spoken about; whereas in CfE we talk about interdisciplinary learning. Despite trying to research the difference between these two terms I am struggling to understand fully what this is and so look forward to learning more about it.
Cambridge High School (2015) What is an IB Education. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iZPi2-x0zkc (Accessed: 05/09/18).
Cremin, T. and Arthur, J. (2014) Learning to Teach in the Primary School. New York: Routledge.
Education Scotland (Undated) What is Curriculum for Excellence. Available at: https://education.gov.scot/scottish-education-system/policy-for-scottish-education/policy-drivers/cfe-(building-from-the-statement-appendix-incl-btc1-5)/What%20is%20Curriculum%20for%20Excellence? (Accessed: 24/08/18).
International Baccalaureate Organization (2013) The IB learner profile. Available at: http://www.ibo.org/contentassets/fd82f70643ef4086b7d3f292cc214962/learner-profile-en.pdf. (Accessed: 25/08/18).
International Baccalaureate Organization (2015) What is an IB education? Available at: http://www.ibo.org/globalassets/digital-tookit/brochures/what-is-an-ib-education-en.pdf. (Accessed: 25/08/18).
International Baccalaureate Organization (2017) The History of the IB. Available at: https://www.ibo.org/globalassets/digital-tookit/presentations/1711-presentation-history-of-the-ib-en.pdf (Accessed: 26/08/18)