IB Reflective Activity 4

Differences and similarities between the IB and the CfE in terms of Primary Education

IB PYP and CfE both aim to help children develop into independent and successful lifelong learners who respect and value opinions of others. Both curricula encourage learners to be active, creative and determined to achieve their goals.

Not only teachers but children as well are part of the learning process and can have an impact on what they learn and how. Teachers collaborate and work together to create engaging, relevant and challenging lessons.

On top of that, IB is internationally-focused and aims to educate learners in such environment that provides opportunities to understand different cultures and languages.

The IB Primary Years Programme identifies 6 subject areas:

  • Language
  • Mathematics
  • Science
  • Social studies
  • Arts
  • Personal, social and physical education

They are discussed via 6 transdisciplinary themes:

  1. Who we are
  2. Where we are in place and time
  3. How we express ourselves
  4. How the world works
  5. How we organize ourselves
  6. Sharing the planet


Whereas, in the CfE, there are 8 subject areas:

  • Languages
  • Mathematics
  • Sciences
  • Social studies
  • Religious and moral education
  • Technologies
  • Health and wellbeing
  • Expressive arts

What children should learn in each subject area (in the CfE) is described in Experiences and Outcomes documents. These documents specify what knowledge and skills should be developed throughout each school year. It is divided into three levels – early, first, second. This allows the interconnection of information and building of knowledge. Benchmark documents explain this even more allowing teachers to fully understand what concepts should be discussed and what knowledge and skills should be acquired.  Furthermore, in the Curriculum for Excellence, literacy, numeracy and health and wellbeing are considered to be responsibility of all teachers.

Whereas, the IB is known for its transdisciplinary-themed curriculum and making links and connections between subject areas. Knowledge, skills and concepts are acquired through six themes mentioned above. However, some subjects may be studies separately e.g. Physical education or Music Education. This International Primary Years Programme focuses on acquiring knowledge, skills, concepts, attitudes and action. The curriculum is inquiry-based meaning children themselves create a hypothesis about a picture/information and by finding out further information themselves, they learn about the topic/issue and slowly develop into and become critical thinkers. A huge focus is on learning through exploring big ideas and larger concepts from various points of view, which help students understand the world around them. An emphasis is then placed upon reflection on children´s  learning.

CfE as well encourages and implements interdisciplinary learning for children to develop the ability to apply knowledge and skills in other contexts.

In the CfE, there are also seven principles for teachers to consider when planning lessons:

  • Challenge and enjoyment
  • Breadth
  • Progression
  • Depth
  • Personalisation and choice
  • Coherence
  • Relevance

From my point of view, CfE as well as IB curriculum allow teachers to prepare such lessons that are engaging, challenging and relevant for the pupils in a way that best suits them. Teachers can and are encouraged to get to know their students as much as possible which then enables them to fully understand how they learn best and plan lessons accordingly. Experiences and outcomes documents that are part of the CfE help teachers to understand in detail what it is that need to be taught at each grade. I enjoy the flexibility of the Curriculum for Excellence. It is up to the teacher how a concept will be learnt. This allows teachers to create lessons according to their learners´ preferences, which help students feel they also play a part in the learning process and their ideas are valued and possibly taken forward.

I really enjoy the fact that the IB curriculum is international inviting all people from various cultural background to become a part of this learning community. It brings people together, which, I believe, could also become an element of the Scottish education, for example in the form of partnership and projects with other schools. It is incredibly important to understand other cultures in order to become a critical thinker and have a general overview of the world and what is happening around us.

I am really looking forward to learning more about the IB Primary Years Programme.

IB Reflective Activity 3

Which progressive trends align with CfE?


IB Progressive Trends

Critical analysis

Student choice


Range of skills testing



Education of the whole child


AV and AL (languages)

Open plan rooms

Multiple perspectives


Curriculum for Excellence’ purpose is to help children become successful learners, confident individuals, responsible citizens and effective contributors. The IB Curriculum is known for its inquiry-based learning and encouraging understanding and respect towards people from different cultures and backgrounds. Both curricula are child-centred and follow a holistic approach towards education. As such, CfE and the IB overlap in many ways in terms of education trends.

Students are encouraged to look for and find out information and facts for themselves with a discussion followed, which enhances their critical thinking ability. However, in the IB this method is more common.

Regarding the student choice, in both systems, which are child-centred, learning is often based around students’ feedback and what they would like to learn and how. This goes hand in hand with getting to know children very well to be able to prepare such lessons that will be engaging, challenging and children will be motivated and inspired to learn. In both education systems, an individual approach is taken towards education of each individual child. Teachers are encouraged to get to know their learners as much as possible to be able to provide them with such lessons all children will find interesting. Therefore, many and various teaching methods are to be adapted when planning lessons to ensure all children will be able to learn in the way that best suits them.

In the IB, learning is more transdisciplinarybased than in the Curriculum for Excellence. In Scotland, subjects are separate e.g. English Language, Maths, .. ,however, in the IB, what children learn is based around six themes: Who we are; Where we are in place and time; how we express ourselves; How the world works; How we organize ourselves and Sharing the Planet. This structure allows for phenomenon-based learning, which means that when a concept is studied e.g. Water cycle, it can be discussed from many points of view – linguistical, mathematical, … This allows for more holistic approach.

To ensure the health and wellbeing of students, GIRFEC, Getting It Right for Every Child, a national approach, is there to support each individual child. GIRFEC is interwoven with educational organizations and institutions. This enables teachers and other staff at school to realise if there is something wrong and the concern can be taken further.

During my first placement in Scotland I have experienced open plan rooms when community groups were taking place. Children from grades P5-P7 were divided into six groups. Each group  had a different task and goal to achieve. For example, the group I was observing focused on growth mindset development. Children first read a book encouraging the growth mindset development and then created special puppets based on the story in the book. The next step was a play, which they performed to younger classes. At the end, they were reading the story to the younger ones and helped them to create their own puppets.

IB Reflective Activity 2

Compare and Contrast the IB Learner Profile attributes with CfE´s four capacities.


There are 10 core values/attributes. IB learners are encouraged to become:

  • Inquirers
  • Knowledgeable
  • Thinkers
  • Communicators
  • Principled
  • Open-minded
  • Caring
  • Risk-takers
  • Balanced
  • Reflective


Whereas, the CfE specifies 4 capacities to help children become:

  • Successful learners
  • Confident individuals
  • Responsible citizens
  • Effective contributors


It is highlighted that lessons should be engaging, relevant and challenging in order to motivate pupils and therefore encourage students to become successful lifelong learners who can contribute, have a great impact and make a difference in the 21st century.

In both curricula acquiring knowledge is hugely important. Knowing what we are learning is as important as knowing why we are learning it and where we can apply it in the future. This helps children make informed decision and develop their critical thinking skills. Observing my class, I have seen them do many problem-solving activities such as mathematical problems or various literacy tasks.

To encourage children in their thinking skills, in the first week of my placement, my class took a trip to a Science Centre, where they were exposed to many scientific ideas and learnt about Mars. They were engaged in whole-class and groups discussions, which encouraged their thinking.

Creativity plays a great role as well. In the classroom I was in, it was stimulated by many different teaching methods throughout their education and also via participating in a project about planets, which consisted of planning and creating artworks, finding information using digital technology and playing a part in a special play about planets performed for parents.

Great importance in both IB Learner Profile and CfE Four Capacities, is placed upon learning how to be an independent and responsible learner as well as a a good communicator and listener when being a part of a group sharing ideas and discussing various topics. To become a responsible citizen means also being interested and wanting to know more about the world around us from the local as well as the global point of view.

Developing a sense of physical as well as emotional wellbeing is significant for both, IB and CfE curricula. Moreover, in the CfE Health and Wellbeing is a responsibility of all those working in schools, not only teachers. This also applies to Literacy and Numeracy. Whereas, in the IB Curriculum, a greater emphasis is placed upon helping learners develop into inquirers through inquiry-based learning.

Even though the IB is more internationally-focused, CfE itself also tries to help children understand the importance of knowing different cultures, languages and how people live around the world. This enables children become respectful to others and open-minded to new ideas, thinking and information coming from different parts of the world and being able to assess such information, which enhances critical thinking skills. However, through IB programmes, students often have a direct contact with people from around the world which allows them to create international learning communities. Very important values that are being promoted as well are honesty and fairness.

Confidence is hugely important and built when children are responsible for the learning process, or a part of it, their ideas and opinions are valued by teachers and their classmates and it is acted upon their feedback. Studying in various countries, I was learning about the importance of risk-taking activities and the positive effects it can have on children´s confidence.

IB Reflective Activity 1

IB education provides international education to children and students from 3 to 19 years old in over 156 countries. There are over 5,000 schools offering 4 high-quality programmes:

  • Primary years programme (PYP)
    • Age range: 3-12
  • Middle Years Programme (MYP)
    • Age range: 11-16
  • Diploma Programme
    • Age range: 16-19
  • Career-related Programme
    • Age range: 16-19


There are similarities as well as differences with the Curriculum for Excellence, which is Scotland´s national curriculum since 2004 provided to students from 3 to 18 years old. Both curricula which are student-centred focus on helping students become open-minded, enthusiastic and lifelong learners. They also develop critical thinking, decision-making as well as creativity skills, much needed in today´s world. Confidence, persistence and resilience are significant attributes students acquire through both curricula. At Ballumbie Primary School, where I undertook my first placement, I have seen tasks and activities to support such skills. To develop these skills was also one of the goals throughout my education back home in the Czech Republic.

Lessons should be engaging, challenging and relevant to children´s everyday lives. Both curricula place a great emphasis on acquiring skills for students to be able to work together, communicate, listen to each other and understand the concept of cooperation. I have observed and taught lessons designed for cooperative groups. My mentor has taken a course in cooperative teaching, therefore, I was able to see how this particular teaching method worked. I was observing how working in groups, in this case cooperative groups, was helping children to learn from one another and discuss topics and issues together. It also encouraged children to feel as a part of a team and as such to bear a responsibility for the tasks needed to be done. This method also supported the ones less able as they had a chance to discuss everything in their teams before questions were asked or the whole-class discussion began. It also encouraged the more able ones to learn by explaining and demonstrating concepts to their classmates.

Both curricula encourage students to become responsible for their learning. “Knowledgeable” is an attribute highly important for both. However, IB curriculum is more globally focused allowing children to explore issues on a local as well as a global level. The IB curriculum is also more inquiry-based, which is a significant aspect for this curriculum. IB learners are taught through inquiry, action and reflection. Another important aspect of the IB curriculum is making links between various fields of study and therefore, allowing children to understand concepts from many different points of view. On top of that, it supports the development of intercultural understanding and respect towards each other and the ability to communicate and work together regardless where we all come from or what language we speak. IB schools work together and collaborate to connect various ideas. This help to create international. learning communities and therefore gives IB learners the opportunity to become more globally engaged through many different languages and cultures. CfE as well focuses on acquiring the knowledge and skills of another language through Modern Languages curricular area.







ICT – 2. input and TDT 2

We started the second input for ICT by watching a video to really understand how professional animations are made. It was incredible and mind-blowing to see how many pictures are needed for each second of the video.

Our task was to create an animation in a program called “Zu3D” using a camera, a microphone for adding music, background and characters made from plasticine. We were working in groups of 5.  For every movement of the character(s) we took 5 photos. When we wanted the characters to move quicker, we took less photo. I really enjoyed this activity and believe that children would enjoy it very much. Every child would have their own role – someone would be a director, someone would be working with a camera, someone playing the characters. As teachers, we need to make sure every child has a role and that we give step-by-step instructions for children to know what to do.

We came up with the story as we were working. However, a great way to link more lessons together would be to give children a task to create a story in a Literacy lesson, the background, the scenes and the characters in Arts and then the animation itself in an ICT lesson.


Maths – 3. input – TDT

After the third input, which focused on mental maths, our task was to investigate some mental maths materials. As a group, we found most of them very practical, useful and beneficial. I will use a lot of them in the classroom to enhance and promote understanding and problem-solving skills.

  • The “counters” is a great way to start learning counting – addition, subtraction and easier multiplication and division calculations. They can be easily used as a tool for a pair or group work to improve discussion and talk in Maths as well as a part of whole-class teaching. In early years stages, they can be used for better conceptual understanding of numbers when we first start with concrete objects to represent numbers and simple calculations and move on to illustrations after that. This is called the “concrete-pictorial-abstract (CPA) approach”.


  • Number fan is a great tool for calculations as well but especially for showing answers. It can be used during whole-class teaching or group work when for example two children give the calculation and the other two solve it and then show the answer with the number fan.


However, I find the Digit flips more effective for showing answers.


These mathematical tools are great for the demonstration and understanding of fractions, quarters and percentages. I would probably let children think (group work) first what these tools represent and and how we can use them in Maths lessons.


I really enjoy this tool illustrated on the left-hand side. They are great for introduction of more complicated calculations dealing with fractions and percentages. They can be used during the whole-class lesson as well as the group work. I would always encourage children to start with the mathematical process by writing everything down. When they become more used to such questions, they might be able to solve them mentally.

The tool on the right-hand side could be used as a warm up for the lesson during the introduction.



This tool is an effective way for chidren to practise their understanding of place value – units, tens and hundreds. I believe, this would be great for a pair work.


I believe that this tool might be used for understanding of place value as well, however, as a group, we agreed that this one might be very confusing for children.


Maths – 1. input and 1. TDT – Reflection

The first Maths input was very valuable in terms of discussing and thinking about the perception of Maths in the society and what teachers can do to promote and develop children´s understanding and application of Maths.

There are signs of the “Maths anxiety” in the society. Many people do not like Maths and did not enjoy it at school. A child´s parents often justify the child´s innumeracy by saying that they themselves were not good at Maths either. However, we should make innumeracy as unacceptable as illiteracy and as teachers we need to promote the understanding of Maths by providing children with opportunities to practise and enhance thinking, problem-solving skills and the application of knowledge gained in Maths lessons in various life situations.

We were introduced to many different kinds of tools we can use in Maths lessons such as show-me boards and games to reinforce the topic. We need to give children opportunities to talk, dicuss and explain the mathematical processes they use to get to the right anwer. When children have the option of discussing this with their peers, they listen to different methods of reaching a correct answer and it helps them understand the mathematical ideas more. We need to make it clear that often there are more ways how to get to the correct answer. As it is proven that discussing Maths helps us make sense of it, we need to incorporate more opportunities for children to discuss Maths in classroom e.g. questioning, pair/group work, interactive teaching. We also need to establish the kind of environment for children to be able to see that Maths is all around us – Maths wall and table, a problem of the week, to link mathematics into other curricular areas. As teachers, we should also create a positive learning environment for children to be able to explore, take risks, be creative, feel safe and supported and to know they can make mistakes and learn from them.

I really like this Chinese proverb as I very much believe in its message:

I hear, I forget.
I see, I remember.
I do, I understand.  


Health and Wellbeing 1 – Reflection on Dr Zeedyk´s video about Brain Development

The talk given by Dr Suzanne Zeedyk was extremely interesting – to learn that thanks to evolution, babies are being born much earlier than they used to be and that it is one of the reasons why our brain is so flexible and we can learn new skills such as a new language. This flexibility also helps us to cope with a variety of situations and survive in different environments.

As primary practitioners, we might be teaching children who come from wealthy as well as poor families and as such, we should also be aware of how children, who have been brought up in an environment, where there is for example domestic violence, might react to various situations in the classroom and why. As Dr Zeedyk says, in this case the child´s brain always monitors for threat and as such, they cannot concentrate on something else. That is the reason why these children cannot sit quietly. Such children, who were raised in this kind of environment, will always think that a world is a threating place. And as such, it is very important for us, teachers, to build positive relationships with these children and provide them with a safe place outside their home, where they can experience world in a different way. It is also harder for these children to connect with other people. Therefore, teachers should create a balance between individual, group and whole-class work when planning lessons. When children are working in groups, we make sure they stay on task while building relationships via various activities and discussions.

Health and Wellbeing 1 – Reflection on a documentary “Sugar Crash”

The documentary called the “Sugar Crash” that focused especially on the health issues in Ireland was eye-opening. It is unbelievable how much sugar not only children but adults eat in a day. According to the WHO, adults should eat maximum of 16 teaspoons per day. And 3-year-old children should not consume any sugar at all. The study shows that people in Ireland eat 4 times more than they should. The consequences it has on our health are countless e.g. on our teeth. There was a case when a child needed to have more than ten teeth exctracted because of the damage the sugar did to their teeth.

It is extremely worrying to see how much the number of obese children has risen. The documentary says that before 1980, Irish people were the thinnest in Europe. However, now, they are 4th in terms of the sugar consumption.

It is important for parents, in particular, who need to become role models for their children, to start paying attention to what they give to their children. When preparing food, we should always refer to the “Food Pyramid” as it will help us prepare the right meals and portions. People often make the mistake by assuming that zero fat-product is a better option overall. However, it usually means that extra sugar has been added.

According to what I have seen, especially in the UK and in Ireland, people often buy soft drinks and crisps and allow children to eat it as a normal snack. However, how children are brought up affects their future lifestyle including what food they will buy and eat. What people ate as children has a great impact on what they will eat as adults. Therefore, the best and most effective way is to give children healthy food from the start (give children water instead of soft drinks and give them fruit and vegetables and natural dairy products) because later in life they are more likely not to experience issues with sugar and avoid temptation of products with high amount of sugar.

From my point of view, there should be a greater emphasis on healthy lifestyle and eating fresh food in the UK, Ireland and in other countries. Teachers have the power to change it by introducing such topics to children at an early stage of their learning to help them establish understanding of the importance of healthy eating. Through various activities and class discussions, we can talk to children about a negative impact unhealthy eating can have on their health.

Some schools that are located in deprived areas have started to apply a very effective approach, in my opinion, by giving children fruit for free during the day.

To link it with the Scottish Curriculum, the topic is related to the Experience and Outcome:  “I am developing my understanding of the human body and can use this knowledge to maintain and improve my wellbeing and health.” HWB 0-15a / HWB 1-15a / HWB 2-15a / HWB 3-15a / HWB 4-15a


ICT – 1.input and TDT 1

The first input on ICT focused on the combination of music and creation of an animation. I found it really interesting to link the ICT to another subject of the curriculum. I believe that children would find it very exciting and enjoyable to create an animation based on a piece of music. It allows them to express their feelings and emotions and promote their art skills and creativity.

We created an animation in a program called the “Bush Ninja”.  I believe that this activity can be easily applied provided children have access to tablets or computers.

We also learnt how to work with a program called “Uz3D” which can be used to combine music with animation created in the classroom (we also need a camera). For this animation, we used small pieces of plastic blocks cut in various shapes to express the music piece. In my opinion, very clear and step-by-step instructions and guidance should be given to children during this task so that everyone knows what to do. However, I believe that children would have a great fun creating this animation. They would learn about sounds and how to express what they hear.