When the International Baccalaureate formed in the 1960s, it revolutionised a lot of the teaching styles that were presented in school. Not settling with the traditional make-up of the educational system to that point, it put across a new ‘Progressive’ brand of the curriculum that is still the foundation of teaching till this day. This style of forward-thinking aligns with a lot of what the CfE offers in Scotland.
It is evident that the IB was the catalyst for an increase in the importance of education in the decades that followed such a pivotal moment in human history at the conclusion of the second world war, or at least with the focus on learner education. As seen through the new focus of education trends, this was echoed within society with a changing reflection of meritocracy.
An example of these comparisons is the IB trend of ‘student choice’. This is similar to CfE’s principle of ‘personalisation and choice’ as both put large importance on students being able to choose their own journey through their schooling journey so that they can arrive at the outcome that they desire upon leaving. This is of particular importance as the previous system did not cater to branching out of a concrete curriculum and thus did not offer a varied programme for students to flourish at their desired outcome. This vague curriculum arguably extinguished unique talents and therefore killed passions that should be celebrated in school before they had even started. Additionally, giving the teacher a forum to receive feedback from their students increases their pool for delivering classes as it lets them fine-tune their lessons to increase retention of information and engagement, as well as getting the message across that pupil feedback is respected within the learning environment. Classes are a two-way system that depends on a working relationship between teacher and student so this mutual principle is very much at the heart of a progressive curriculum.
Another example of how these two systems share progressive traits is the importance of both being focused on learners. IB mentions ‘child-centred’ education, similar to CfE’s holistic approach. It is needless to say that school exists with the intention to get learners ready for the outside world. This is why their education and safety is indispensable and therefore the biggest focus to both IB and CfE-centred schools. This is evident through the experiences and outcomes that are the benchmark for pupils’ learning in Scotland so that all students have the same foundation of knowledge and allowing the teacher to know what the natural progression of teaching should be.
In conclusion, I believe it is very clear that the Curriculum for Excellence was designed with a lot of the IB’s educational trends in mind. Education should forever be about getting the correct information across to students. By working with them and allowing them to be the navigator to their own learning, they can explore their passions within the education system so that they can reach the destination that they desire to arrive at upon leaving school, be it employment or higher education.