International Baccalaureate Introduction Module

This post includes my reflections from the International Baccalaureate Introduction module which I am very excited to be starting this semester!

Reflective Activity 1

The International Baccalaureate identifies one of its main characteristics as centring on the learner which I feel is also prevalent in the Curriculum for Excellence which I have no become more comfortable in teaching. Focussing on the individual learner appears to be a strong theme with both programmes as well as using and developing effective teaching techniques to achieve it. Another clear link between the two is the aim of significance/relevance. Both programme outline the importance of relevance in their curriculums in their aims and is clearly an important element for both.

While on my teaching placement earlier this year I did experience aspects of the IB aims during my practice. One that sticks out for me is the aim regarding creating a challenging programme for the learners. As I was in the Upper stages for my placement I quickly learned that the learners responded better to more challenging tasks than simple ones as they were able to use different strategies to overcome the challenges and gain a deeper understanding of whatever I happened to be focussing on that day. Another that I noticed in the CfE classroom was the focus on creating lifelong learners. While teaching you want to equip the learners with the skills they need throughout life and to ensure their learning experience is positive so they continue to learn and develop in their later lives.

Reflective Activity 2

The wording between the IB and CfE programme may differ but it appears their core values have the same goal, to create well balanced, responsible and confident learners. Both curriculum strive towards helping a learner become as equipped for the world as they can be. I became to automatically sort the 10 core values of the IB programme into the 4 capacities of the CfE curriculum and quickly came to the confusion that while there are clear links between then (e.g. thinkers & successful learners, principled & responsible citizens) I found that a lot of the core values fitted into more than one capacity showing that both programmes are almost parallel to each other.

The IB programme, to me, seems like it has the kind of outlook in that endeavours to prepare its learners for the outside world. This is something that is in the CfE but seems to be more emphasised in the IB. I have certainly observed areas of the IB learner profile when working with children and how important they are in ensuring the children enjoy their learning. Helping them discover skills they need for later life and giving them life experiences that will shape them into who they will be is a big part of the work I do with kids outside of teaching and elements of that can be found in the IB programme.

Reflective Activity 3

A range of the progressive trends align with the CfE. The one to jump out at me first was the trend of student choice as personalisation and choice is one of the principles for curriculum design within CfE, aligning perfectly with these trends. Open plan classrooms are also a trend in many schools (my primary school included) however this is not printed within the curriculum itself. Transdisciplinary relates to the emphasis on interdisciplinary in CfE and encourages a lot of learning to be put into context for the learners this way. Lastly the emphasis on being child centred is prevalent throughout the CfE as well as being pushed by the Scottish Government with GIRFEC. Education should of course be child centred to make sure the learning is tailored to the needs of every child.

Reflective Activity 4

The subject areas of the IB PYP and the curricular areas of CfE are not much different. The only difference is that the CfE Curriculum also identifies technologies and religious and moral education as subject areas. However, the IB programme focuses on transdisciplinary learning which would account for the missing curricular areas. The IB programme also focuses on international learning and culture so I believe this accounts for their version of RME. In addition to the subject areas, IB also have 6 disciplinary areas which support the PYP. Personally, I think these act like the Experiences and Outcomes of the CfE as each subject area needs to relate to a disciplinary theme. The aims of the IB programme are strong throughout the PYP as there is a real focus on international learning and preparing the learner for the world we live in. This is the main difference between CfE and IB as the CfE has more of a focus on each subject whereas the IB seems to have more of an overview of their subjects. The IB programme have 4 clear concise aims while the CfE has a more in depth explanation of how its goals. A lot of the themes introduced in the IB aims come up in the principles of curriculum design so both curriculums are built on the same morals it seems. Each one needs to be tailored to its learners but upon doing the reading for this module it seems that the curriculums have more similarities than differences.

 

3 thoughts on “International Baccalaureate Introduction Module

  1. Nikki

    Hi Mirren
    You’ve drawn some valid parallels here between the IB’s PYP and CfE. I absolutely agree with you that many attributes of the learner profile ‘fit’ across more than one of the four capacities. The four capacities has always been a bone of contention with me as too often in schools I’ve seen it paid lip service (and been guilty of it myself!). Amongst the four capacities themselves there is no clear black and white distinction between each and all our acts bear shades of each. Does that make sense???
    I also agree with you that some aspects of the PYP, while common with CfE, are made more explicit in IB curriculum guidance as opposed to CfE guidance. You’ll find as you progress through the coming module that the ultimate goal of both CfE and the PYP are the same but you may also find this much more explicitly stated by the IB. 🙂
    With regards to subject areas, the IB believe that technologies should permeate all learning. RME comes both within PSPE and across transdisciplinary themes. (Please note – ‘transdisciplinary themes’, not ‘disciplinary themes’.
    Thanks for an interesting read! Nikki

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  2. Sharon Tonner

    Good links were made between IB and CfE. When reflecting, you may wish to consider your own thoughts regarding what you write. For example, you give the reader information about the differences in the curricular areas, however, you do not discuss what this means in practice alongside your views.

    Reply
  3. Linda Lapere

    This is a well considered post Mirren! I was particularly interested in your statement “The IB programme, to me, seems like it has the kind of outlook in that endeavours to prepare its learners for the outside world. This is something that is in the CfE but seems to be more emphasised in the IB”.

    I totally agree and feel very disappointed that Curriculum for Excellence didn’t do what it set out to do in the very beginning. When the four capacities were first conceptualised, it was seen to be quite radical and had plenty of promise. However, we seem to have been left with a watered-down version that belies the original potential it had.

    Reflecting in this way is definitely preparing you for the IB module! Keep this up!

    Reply

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