My Mini Inquiry- Where are there IB schools around the world?

I know that there are International Baccalaureate (IB) schools worldwide, however, I would like to use this opportunity to inquire about the IB’s history and find out just how many IB schools are out there and where exactly they are in the world. It is amazing that all IB schools share the same curriculums, yet can be so far away from each other. I believe that the interconnectedness of all the IB schools mirrors how interconnected pupils are with each other considering they are all from different places and unite through a universal curriculum.

Through my inquiry, I have learnt that on September 3rd 2019, it was recorded that there were 6,812 programmes being offered worldwide, across 5,175 schools in 157 countries (IBO, 2019, Facts and Figures). This is astonishing to see just how many IB schools exist worldwide. I have also learnt that over half of the total number of IB programmes are taught in the Americas (52.6%). This surprised me because I thought that there would be an even spread of IB schools in each country but I realise I was wrong and now have learnt something new. I also learnt that 26.5% of IB programmes are taught in Africa, Europe and the Middle East and 20.9% of IB programmes are taught in Asia-Pacific (IBO, 2019, Facts and Figures). I expected there to be much more IB programmes being taught in Europe than 26.5% as many European children go to IB schools. But I now realise that they perhaps decide to move out of Europe to the states.

The number of IB programmes offered worldwide has grown by 39.3% (IBO, 2019, Facts and Figures). This is amazing because now that more countries offer an IB education, the more schools that are available for families who constantly need to move around the world for jobs etc. It also shows that the IB curriculum is successful due to its growth worldwide, it works well for many.

I am going to experience what IB is like in practice in Italy which excites me very much. 18 schools in Italy offer the PYP (IBO, 2019, Facts and Figures). This is a very good number of schools which can accommodate for many children and their families. I am very much looking forward to experiencing life in an IB school and what also excites me is that many of my colleagues are going to different countries than me, for example Spain, Canada and even Australia! It will be interesting to compare each other’s experiences as we may share very similar ones but we will also most likely have very different ones.

reference: Facts and Figures, International Baccalaureate

 

Actions Speak Louder Than Words

After learning about the role of action in the PYP, I now have a deeper understanding of why it is such a crucial part to the curriculum.

I have learnt that actions come in many forms, big and small. Big actions are often life changing and make bigger impacts onto the individuals carrying out the action and also many others around the world who are affected by the issue. An example of a bigger action would be organising a bake sale/ raffle to help raise money for a specific global or local issue within the community. Through organising these events the money raised can make a huge difference. On the other hand, actions can also be small. With children, actions need to be realistic and achievable, so small actions are a key part of school life and are fundamental to a child’s development. Examples of small actions can be as small as making a friend or being healthier. As long as it helps develop the child in a positive way, then the action is significant to them and will help them to be a better version of themselves which is great for later in life.

The action I will take from this input will be to not think that every action needs to be a big one. I will focus on completing actions that are realistic for me to achieve and will try my best to make sure I carry out these actions and not procrastinate. Intentions are only a small proportion of the action, it is fundamental that you carry the action out.  For example I want to be healthier myself and I want to achieve this by improving my lifestyle choices eating better and exercising more, so I will make sure I will do all that I can to achieve this. If I just told myself I would exercise more and eat healthier rather than actually doing it, no differences would be made. Therefore it is important to follow intentions through to the end to achieve a positive difference.

I also want to take action on my learning through completing my tutor directed tasks so that I gain as much out of inputs as possible to better my learning. I will focus on one action at a time, as I can often overwhelm myself when it comes to getting things done, so another action I will take from this input is that there is no time limit to complete an action (unless there is a deadline)! I will make sure that I take my time and complete actions in my life with all the time I need, so the effects of the completed action can be the most positive. When I know I have completed an action such as doing my homework, it also benefits my wellbeing as it makes me feel better knowing that I have completed something I needed to do rather than having a massive to do list to stress about. The happier I feel, the easier it is to complete actions.

In short, any action, big or small, can make such a difference to a person’s life, and that is why actions are crucial to the curriculum.

IB TDT Concept-based learning

I have learned a lot about concept-based learning through my reading. I realise how effective it is because it opens so many more doors into learning for children.

It is a three dimensional model allowing for: generalisation, principles, concepts, facts and skills. This allows children to gain deeper understandings of what they’re learning by thinking deeper rather than the contrasting two-dimensional model of just fact and skills. The 2D model really limits pupils capabilities as it is all about memorising facts and recalling them.

Concept based learning is a much better approach because it allows pupils to really grow as learners by pushing themselves to reach their full potential by really thinking, giving them motivation and an intercultural understanding through active engaging learning with others. Whereas the 2D approach causes pupils to become less motivated and it is more isolating as you don’t normally memorise facts collaboratively- it doesn’t necessarily develop pupil’s interpersonal skills or get them to think deeper as they are only parrot learning facts, they’re not applying the information to anything.

Concept based learning is an amazing approach that works very well and I can’t wait to see it in practice, however I do have one question. How might evidence of conceptual understandings be documented? Because with the 2D approach, evidence can be documented with exam question papers, however if we are trying to steer away from this, what would a new different approach to assessing concept-based learning be like?

Heres why what we teach matters

“90% of what we teach in school is a waste of time… It doesn’t matter.”

From reading this statement I do not agree with it. Some may say that certain topics being taught in school may be a waste of time, however, they may not see the bigger picture.

For example, some may say learning about a certain topic in school such as ‘dinosaurs’ is considered ‘pointless’. They may think “What does my child gain from learning about dinosaurs?” or “What is the point when dinosaurs have no relevance to our everyday lives”. The sad truth is that people might not realise that as well as learning about dinosaurs, the children learn about other things in the CONTEXT of dinosaurs. They miss the benefits of it.

Dinosaurs are very interesting to children, as I have seen on placement as my class has it as a topic. If they learn different subject areas through the context of dinosaurs, ultimately they will be more motivated to learn things like maths or English if lessons are in the context of dinosaurs as it will  attract them to the subject much more than if it were just an isolated English or maths lesson- the children see it being relevant to them as the context is of great interest to them as people.

From my experience, I taught language in the context of Harry Potter, which was a great success. The children were developing their reading and writing skills through the context of Harry Potter and through this it made learning more fun and enjoyable to them. The children always looked forward to my lessons which made me see how context-based learning works so well. Some may think that all they’re learning about is Harry Potter when in actual fact they are learning key skills needed for life and gives them the motivation to want to gain these.

Everything we teach in school has a purpose for pupils later in life. It is important to create a context for learning that does matter to the children in order to allow them to e fully engaged and immerse themselves 100% in every lesson because if pupils were interested, the lesson will be way more effective- pupils will be motivated to learn key skills needed for life.

IB TDT- How I embody the Learner Profile Attributes

I want to be a teacher because I want to make a difference. Through learning in the International Baccalaureate elective I have learnt that PYP schools also want to make a difference by creating a more peaceful world. Just as I like to learn from others in any context, I decided to choose the International Baccalaureate as an elective as I wanted to learn about how other different education systems from my own worked well, such as the PYP. Through learning in this elective I already notice the differences to CfE the PYP has to offer such as embodying a Learner Profile. The Learner Profile is a set of qualities that the school wants every person, whether they are a pupil, teacher or janitor, to embody to create a good learning community and a better and more peaceful world. The attributes are as follows; inquirers, knowledgeable, thinkers, communicators, principled, open-minded, caring, risk-takers, balanced and reflective.

Throughout my journey, I have been an inquirer in many ways. For example, on placement I always took advantage of asking questions to different members of staff about the job and also to inquire on how I could make lessons the best quality they can be. I also inquired through reserach of things such as ASD and bilingualism so that I would know more about the topics as I had children in my class who these applied to. Through inquiring I learnt more about my class which helped me to meet the needs of every child.

I tried to make sure I was knowledgeable of each subject I was teaching through research, however I would say I need to develop this further because with even more research I would have been even more knowledgeable with what I was teaching the children. For example, their topic was ‘transport’ and I could have done way more research to consolidate my own understanding even more so that I would have felt more confident in the subject.

I believe that being a thinker gets you very far through being a pupil in school and also as a teacher. I make sure that during lectures that I think very hard about the different discussion points being addressed as I can think about these discussion points when I come across them in practice. In addition I also made sure to think hard about how I could develop my practice by thinking of good ideas to improve.

Communicating is key to being an effective teacher. In my practice I always tried my best to express myself in order to connect with the pupils to earn trust and respect. In addition, in workshops I always make sure that I am working as a team with everyone I work with and make sure I listen to what everyone has to say. I communicated very well with my mentor throughout placement as we would communicate outside of school via email if I had any questions or queries about my practice and he would give me advice on how to plan my lessons the best they could be. I also encouraged my pupils to be good communicators through including lots of discussion in my lessons that were paired, group and whole class. This got the pupils to work together with their peers and taught them to respect everyone’s ideas and points. I feel that the more lessons I planned the more I acquired this aspect of the learner profile because I found it easier to include discussion points the more I practiced.

The principled attribute is very important in my journey as it is important for me to make sure that I treat every child fairly and respect their rights as pupils. I never had favourite pupils as I made sure to focus on every child by making sure they all had a voice in class and all had opportunities to answer out or speak to me if they had problems. I followed the class rules as well as the children which created mutual respect.

I believe that I am a very open-minded person as I appreciated all the children’s different cultures and stories as a number of my pupils were from different Eastern European countries. Through being open minded it allowed me to learn things about different cultures that I would not have known before. I also respect that other teachers and my friends who are also students have different ways of doing things to me and through seeing different approaches it allowed me to grow by seeing methods I never would have thought of.

I am also a very caring person as I always make sure that I put others first over myself. I showed empathy to my pupils on placement through understanding what they were going through when they would tell me about issues that bothered them, developing trust and respect. Through my studies, I have learnt that If you are not caring to your pupils then there will be issues when trying to gain their respect because if you show you care, then it will show the pupil that they matter to you as a teacher. This allows for the pupils to connect to you more as people rather than a child just being ‘one of thirty pupils’. Strong relationships are key to being an effective teacher and through myself and my mentor being caring, I really found that we were making a difference to their educational experience. The fact that I care so much shows me how right this career path is for me, as I find it so rewarding knowing that I create a positive impact on pupils.

Encouraging pupils to take a risk helps them to become better people as it gets them out of their comfort zones, which is a skill needed for later in life. I made sure to always challenge my pupils on placement by pushing them to their full potential. I created challenges for fast finishers which was very beneficial because if pupils can take the risk and complete it, perhaps by completing a piece of work that may be more difficult than usual or by speaking out in class, it gives them the confidence to push themselves even further to improve. With regards to myself, when planning lessons I took risks by not really knowing how a certain aspect of my lesson would go, for example I had a station activity that I thought would work very well, however it ended up being quite chaotic and not as effective as I thought. When lessons wouldn’t work out on more and more occasions, I build up the resilience to move on and used making mistakes as a door to seeing how I could have done something differently, which constantly improved my practice . Trying out new approaches is good for my development because through being afraid of taking the risk, it would mean that you would never know how a certain activity or lesson would work out, it could have been amazing for all you knew and if you don’t try you would  never know for sure.

Throughout my life, I have always tried to be balanced, though it is something I find quite difficult. I often overwhelm myself with everything going on in my life such as my studies, social life, hobbies and my own wellbeing. During placement, I didn’t balance these well, as a result of this I only spent my time working, which was good as I could really focus on doing well in placement and being the best I could be, though it meant that I gave up my social life and hobbies and I also did not look after myself properly as I lacked sleep and did not eat a lot. It is important that for my next placement I focus on taking care of my own wellbeing more as well as taking care of my progress in my degree. This will make me feel much more happy and healthy when on placement as I will make sure I get enough rest to recharge and give it all that I’ve got to really push myself to the best of my ability.

Lastly, I have always made sure to be as reflective as possible during my course, whether its writing reflections for my ePortfolio or whether its reflecting on how my lessons went or just any experience I encounter in school in general. It is important I am reflective as it makes me think deeper about what I experienced and develop through thinking of other possible ways I could have been better. Through writing this blog post it has really got me to reflect on how I’m doing in my course and what my strengths and weaknesses are. It allows me to develop and grow as a teacher which is vital for improving my practice.

I will continue to keep making sure I embody all of these attributes as a person not just in my degree, but in life in general as they do help make me a better person to help create a better and more peaceful world. The more people who embody these attributes the better our world will become!

 

 

 

 

 

Gender Differences in Temperament: Real or Imagined?

After reading “Gender Differences inTemperament: Real or Imagined?” I believe that this generation is doing everything it can to eradicate gender stereotypes as much as possible from birth. However although they may still exist today, in the past gender stereotypes were much more common as people did not accept things that are accepted in today’s world.

Adults subconsciously made, and still can make, generalisations about infant girls and boys. For example, boys wear blue and girls wear pink. This generalisation is probably the biggest stereotype that still exists today in shops everywhere. Perhaps a person may see a baby in blue clothes and assume it is a boy when in fact it may be a girl.

From the article, it speaks about how boys are less fearful and girls are more sociable, when in reality both boys and girls feel exactly the same emotions as each other. With the parents following the social norms they are moulding the child into a stereotype rather than encouraging the child’s individual personality. Today, it is expressed and reinforced much more that boys are not supposed to be big and strong all the time, and that they are actively encouraged to let their feelings out and be as emotional as they need.

Furthermore, adults may also subconsciously treat the same behaviour in infant boys and girls differently. For example, parents encourage the stereotype of ‘ladylike’ behaviour in girls and ‘boisterous’ behaviour in boys. This attributes typical boy’s behaviour of ‘being male’ rather than seeing both boys and girls as individuals as you can get girls who are louder and boys who are quieter.

Another point in the article stated that temperamental stereotyping may affect the quality of the parent-infant relationship. For example a parent may give their daughter more affection if she is more ‘feminine’ and less if their daughter is more ‘masculine’ from perhaps enjoying active activities such as sports. I feel that this is much more rare now as we as a society today teach children to be who they want to be and enjoy whatever they want to enjoy no matter what it is or who they are.

Lastly, back to the colour point,  boys and girls have stereotyped toys (girls like dolls/prams and boys like cars/lego). Although this still exists today through packaging of toys (girls are pink and boys are blue) it has been addressed more and toy companies are trying to change the stereotypes through putting boys and girls together on packaging. In addition, people are becoming much more open minded on buying their children any toy they want to play with, for example if a boy wants to play with prams they can and if a girl wants to play with lego they can too.

I feel that in todays society people’s opinions are changing which is a very good thing and it should continue to change for the better.

The Importance of Embracing Multilingualism

Through reading Imagining Multilingual Schools: Languages in Education and Globalisation I have learnt much more about how important it is in schools to promote multilingualism as much as possible.

In many schools, English is the dominant language that lessons are taught in. When there are pupils in schools who do not speak English as their first language, they can sometimes deal with barriers throughout their education, for example perhaps not being able to understand what is being taught. This can have a big impact on how much the pupils will gain out of lessons. Therefore there are many ways for schools to promote language learning.

Firstly, from what I read it is important that, with regards to the home language and English, schools have a “both/and” attitude rather than “either/or” attitude when it comes to teaching in English and also in pupils home language as well. This is important because it allows for fairness in class and for all pupils to gain as much out of lessons as possible. In addition, it allows pupils to embrace other cultures through learning from each other’s languages an creating an inclusive learning community.

Following , it is also important to create interpersonal spaces within the classroom that support the development of literacy in both English and the home language of each child. This will make all pupils feel comfortable to embrace each other’s differences in a shared space. This is good because in IB schools it will promote pupils to be internationally-minded people through developing skills of appreciation, curiosity and empathy of each different culture.

Lastly, from what I read another way of promoting multilingualism in schools is to encourage the use of new technologies to reinforce the development of home-language literacies as well as English. These technologies help to give pupils the opportunities to use less-dominant languages and plenty of other ones when doing their work to help them complete their best work, rather than having to attempt to complete it in a language they are not comfortable in- therefore improving their educational experience allowing them to achieve their full potential.

It is therefore important that schools encourage as much use of other languages and cultures as possible, in order to help pupils feel welcome, included, supported and confident in their learning. No matter where a pupil is from, they all deserve equal chances to do their best in school and by getting rid of language barriers it can make all the difference.

My experience of Language in MA1

After reading Medwell Primary English Teaching and Practice, It has made me reflect on the key points raised in relation to my MA1 placement last year.

For example, I taught the class progressive lessons in literacy through the context of Harry Potter. I taught lessons on describing characters and got the pupils to really think deeper about each one in detail through gradually building up the skills step by step. A point came across in the book about drafting and redrafting. I used this approach as advised by my teacher through the pupils process in writing and it was very successful as it motivated the pupils to want to produce their best work. I got the pupils to create their own ending of the story to stimulate their imagination and as an extension write their own story from the beginning. The children really got into this and loved thinking up new unique ideas themselves.

In addition, the book mentions the ‘Story Circle’. In my class we participated in ‘Circle time’ activities which was very beneficial to the children as it got them practicing their listening and turn taking skills. This was a very good way to get the pupils practicing their talking and listening skills as it got them to take in their peer’s view points and made themselves feel listened to by the class as well. A ‘Kit bag’ was used with cards that had questions on them such as “what animal would describe me?” which got the pupils to think imaginatively and creatively.

Lastly, we read Harry Potter as a class novel which got the pupils to further develop their listening skills and skills for taking in information. The teacher made sure to ask plenty of open and closed questions to prompt discussion which was very effective for the children as it kept them engaged and focussed on the story.

Overall language was taught very well in my placement school and it was interesting to both observe and actively teach this.

IB TDT 1- Inquiry of Inquiry

IB TDT- Inquiry about inquiry

 

Tuning in…

 

Experiences of Inquiry

 

  • Contexts: in school, at home, at university

 

Benefits

 

  • Good because you learn new things you didn’t know before.
  • Get issues that concern you sorted out by asking the right people for help/ clarification/ reassurance.
  • Curiosity will get you far in life because if you don’t ask, you will never know.

 

Challenges

 

  • Myself personally I am really shy so I sometimes find it nerve-racking asking questions in front of a class full of other people- fear of being judged.

 

 

Opportunities of Inquiry

 

In primary and secondary school I used KWL approach when learning about a new topic (what do I Know, what do I Want to know, what have I Learnt?)

 

How did/does it make you feel?

 

I feel it is an amazing method as it is very stimulating for pupils in the sense that it gets them thinking about their own learning actively as a class. It gets pupils to think about what they already know and be curious about what they want to know- making it very pupil led. It also helps the teacher prepare lessons better as it allows them to teach the pupils things they want to learn and prepare the best they can to provide high quality lessons. Personally when I was a pupil, I found it very stimulating, giving me curiosity about the topic and intrigued to learn more.

 

Did I see it on my MA1 placement

 

I experienced inquiry-based learning on placement by seeing the KWL activity in action when the class started their new topic of Transport. The teacher did the activity as a whole class, getting all the pupils actively participating together and teaching them to listen to each others ideas and inputs. I will definitely use this approach in future as the pupils found it really interesting and it was a very useful tool for the teacher himself.

 

 

 

 

Finding Out…

 

Questions about inquiry

 

Why do we make inquiries?
How do we inquiries?

How can we promote inquiry-based learning in schools?

What ways is inquiry- based learning beneficial to learners?

What barriers can exist that lessen the impact of inquiry- based learning?

 

Sorting Out…(Using Inquiry in the Classroom- Teresa Coffman)

 

Question- Why do we make inquiries?

 

Sentence:“inquiry ensures that students are not only memorising required factual information, but are also applying the facts to the development of meaningful questions and their own understaning.”

 

Phrase: “special interest”, “actively involved”

 

Word:“curiosity”, “explore”

 

Question- How can we promote inquiry based learning?

 

Sentence: “As a teacher, you can develop inquiry skills in your students by helping them to develop a curiosity of the world around them and then to question and seek answers to help solve relevant problems”

 

Phrase: “functional skills” “unique interest”

 

Word: “motivation”

 

 

Making Conclusions…

 

New questions:

 

  • Why wasn’t inquiry-based learning reinforced as much in the past in schools.

 

 

Taking Action…

 

I am going to make sure I implement lots of inquiry-based learning throughout my future placements in my career by teaching pupils about concepts that truly interest them and make them feel a sense of passion when learning. I will use the KWL approach when beginning every topic so I can achieve this.

 

Inquiry Reflection

 

What was it like to learn through inquiry

 

It was very interesting learning through inquiry as it prompted discussion as a class and got us as pupils to think deeper about what we wanted to find out, giving us the chance to make our own decisions about our own learning by choosing things that are of great interest to us. It brought out our curiosity as a class which I feel is fundamental for children to feel when learning something new as they will fully immerse themselves in what they are learning about.

 

What do you notice about yourself as a learner

 

I felt that as a learner it was of great benefit to me as I learned in class in an active way, and I felt much more engaged during lessons and found myself participating more rather than just sitting quietly in the corner. I feel it brings learners out of their shell because it encourages them to feel more comfortable in the classroom to speak out by creating a friendly ethos throughout the discussion. Personally, it helped me massively at university as I feel more and more comfortable answering out in workshops when before I would not open my mouth, even when I did have ideas.

 

How will that impact on

 

  • my future studies:I will try to make sure to take advantage on all inquiry-based learning in future as it will help me to communicate my ideas and also listen to what others have to say and I can learn from others too by thinking about ideas I may not have considered before.
  • The work I do with my pupils:Now that I understand the benefits of inquiry-based learning, I will use the KWL approach when beginning every new topic so that I introduce this method of learning quickly and early. It will allow pupils to feel comfortable expressing their thoughts collectively as a class which will hopefully get them over the hurdle of the intimidation of speaking out.

IB reflective activity 4

Throughout this introductory unit I have been comparing both the PYP (IB Primary Years Programme) and the CfE (Curriculum for Excellence). I have discovered that there are many similarities and differences between the two which I will discuss in this post.

Similarities

After reflecting on the PYP information document, the PYP video, the CfE curricular areas and principles of curriculum design document and the CfE video, I realise that there are many similarities between the two. For example, both education systems are completely child centred and aim to prioritise giving pupils a better understanding of the world around them in order to give them “skills for learning, life and work” as said by CfE. Each education system is flexible by giving pupils a say in how their learning will take place. This way pupils learning experiences are more effective as they will engage more from having their voices heard. Both systems also concentrate on making the ethos and community of the school positive and a happy place for pupils to be which allows pupils to feel happy while they learn, improving their learning experiences. In addition, both systems also focus on personal achievement as the PYP and CfE focus on developing pupils confidence and both systems definitely achieve this. PYP achieve this by allowing pupils to reflect on their learning regularly which gets them focusing on how they can become better versions of themselves and how they can be the best they can be. Effective reflection is also achieved in CfE through growth mindset, as well as being able to celebrate pupils achievements outside of school which also increases confidence. In the CfE there are four capacities that children are expected to demonstrate; Responsible Citizens, Effective Contributors, Confident Individuals and Successful Learners. Both systems show that pupils can be responsible citizens because pupils in PYP and CfE are responsible for their own learning and this also makes them effective contributors by immersing themselves fully into their learning. Lastly, both PYP and CfE cover the same subject areas; mathematics, language, science, social studies, arts and personal/social/physical education.

 

Differences

From my reflections, I gathered that even though both PYP and CfE very much have the same aims in what they want to achieve, they have slightly different methods of fulfilling their aims. For example, I felt that the example in the PYP video about the “plants” topic got me to see that with PYP, the system is much more people based as through learning different subjects the pupils are learning more about the world around them whilst learning the subject, for example learning about world issues such as deforestation in the topic of plants rather than connecting the topic to a different subject area such as maths or science. With the CfE, it is very much more subject based and focusing on different subject outcomes to complete whereas PYP don’t really have outcomes in their curriculum. PYP have different outcomes that focus on the development of the child as a person rather than developing intellectually and academically as their outcomes are “who we are”, “where we are in place and time”, “how we express ourselves” and “how the world works”. The CfE have principles that are more academically based such as “challenge and enjoyment”, “breadth”, “progression”, “depth”, “personalisation and choice”, “coherence” and “relevance”. In CfE the themes are very much subject based as teachers implement these into their lessons to make teaching the subject more effective, whereas the PYP themes are very much people based and are implemented in lessons to “effectively allow students to “step up” beyond the confines of learning within subject areas” as said by the PYP document. In short, CfE focus on making teaching each subject area as effectively as possible to give pupils the best quality education, whereas PYP are trying to steer away from the idea of subject areas and link all aspects of education into one. 

 

In conclusion, I have learnt that there are many ways in which the PYP and CfE are very similar and also ho they are very different. Both education systems are very effective in their own unique ways! From my research it is making me very excited to see these similarities and differences in practice when I complete my IB placement!

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