Category Archives: 2.2 Education Systems & Prof. Responsibilities

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.


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.



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!


IB Reflective Activity 3

Developing your understanding of the history and philosophies of the IB.

There are many IB Education Trends from the 1960s that also align with the CfE in many ways. For example, ‘Student Choice’ aligns with the CfE because one of the principles in CfE is ‘Personalisation and Choice’. This trend is vital in both IB and CfE because pupil voice is extremely important in schools in order to make the schools the best possible place to learn for the pupils. If they can get a say on how they are learning it gives teachers an idea of how to find an approach that works best for the pupils which helps the teachers evaluate their techniques. It also allows pupils to learn in a way that interests and stimulates them.

Secondly, I believe that the trends ‘Range of Skills Testing’, ‘Constructivism’ and ‘Transdisciplinarity’ align with the CfE principle ‘Relevance’. I think this because being taught a range of skills is needed for every day life because the more skills a person has, the better for their futures later in life.  ‘Transdisciplinarity’ is similar to interdisciplinary learning in CfE which is connecting lots of curricular areas to enhance learning across all areas. Transdiciplinary skills are skills that are valuable in the classroom but also outside of school, hence why the trend aligns with the CfE principle ‘Relevance’ because these skills are necessary for living. ‘Constructivism’ is building knowledge from experiences and the fact that the experiences in both IB and CfE schools are ‘relevant’, it means that the knowledge they build up is beneficial for later in life as well as in school.

The trends ‘Child-centred’ and ‘Education of the whole child’ align with the CfE because in CfE the child is the focus of everything in the school. The children are the most important thing and it is the teachers job to give them the best quality education in both IB and CfE schools.

Finally, I believe that the trend ‘Criterion-referenced’ aligns very well with CfE. In the CfE lessons are planned out with reference to the Experiences and Outcomes documents across every curricular subject area. This makes sure that for every lesson there is a distinct learning intention and helps the teacher to provide suitable success criteria that are achievable and realistic. This helps the teacher to make lessons the best they can. Benchmarks and guidelines are also available for teachers in CfE which is even more beneficial to help create interesting lessons for all pupils.

IB Reflective Activity 2

Developing your understanding of the IB Learner Profile

The IB Learner Profile attributes are as follows:

Inquirers, Knowledgeable, Thinkers, Communicators, Principled, Open-Minded, Caring, Risk-Takers, Balanced and Reflective.

The CfE’s four capacities are as follows:

Successful Learners, Responsible Citizens, Confident Individuals and Effective Contributors.


Between IB and CfE, there are many similarities and differences between these.

There are many more similarities than differences. To begin, The IB attribute ‘inquirers’ links to the CfE capacity ‘successful learners’ because they both encourage pupils to learn independently and in a group and also enables pupils to feel enthusiasm and motivation for learning.

Next, the IB attribute ‘knowledgeable’ applies to the CfE capacity ‘responsible citizens’ because they both provide opportunities for commitment to participate responsibly in political, economic, social and cultural life and to engage with issues and ideas that have local and global significance. They both allow pupils to understand the world in which they live better.

Furthermore, the IB attribute ‘thinkers’ relates to the CfE capacity ‘responsible citizens’ because they both allow pupils to think critically and make informed choices and decisions in society and to develop informed ethical views of complex issues. This helps them to think about issues relevant to the society in which they live, helping them to understand how to contribute positively into society through making the right choices.

The IB attribute ‘communicators’ is similar to two CfE capacities; ‘confident individuals’ and ‘responsible citizens’. It is similar to ‘confident individuals’ because this capacity teaches pupils self-respect and gets them thinking about secure values and beliefs. The ‘communicators’ attribute enables pupils to express themselves creatively. It is similar to the ‘responsible citizens’ capacity because it enables pupils to have respect for others and understand different beliefs and cultures. The ‘communicators’ attribute enables pupils to listen carefully to the perspectives of other individuals and groups.

The IB attribute ‘open-minded’ is  very important because it encourages pupils to not be judgemental and accept anyone for who they are and what they believe in, even if they are different to themselves. The CfE capacity ‘responsible citizens’ is similar to this attribute because, again, it encourages pupils to understand different beliefs and values. The ‘open-minded’ attribute gets pupils to critically appreciate their own cultures and personal histories, as well as the values and traditions of others, seeking to evaluate a range of points of view. This helps to create a more positive society for the future as it discourages negative mindsets and issues such as racism in society. Similarly to this attribute, the IB attribute ‘caring’ links to ‘responsible citizens’ in the CfE capacities because again it encourages pupils to have respect for others. The ‘caring’ attribute makes pupils show empathy compassion and respect.

‘Risk-takers’ in the IB attributes is also a very important attribute. It encourages pupils to approach uncertainty with forethought and determination and also makes pupils resilient in challenge and change. This is similar to the CfE capacity ‘effective contributors’ as it also encourages resilience and self-resilience in pupils. It also encourages pupils to apply critical thinking and new contexts.

‘Balanced’ is an IB attribute which relates to the subject of Health and Wellbeing in the CfE curriculum. The attribute is all about making sure the pupil has a good well being by having a good balance of intellectual, physical and emotional wellbeing. This is similar to the CfE in the ‘confident individuals’ capacity as it also gives pupils a sense of physical, mental and emotional wellbeing. Both curricula strive for pupils to be happy and have a good well being, so that they can be the best they can be and achieve their full potential.

Finally the ‘Reflective’ IB attribute is similar to the area of Growth Mindset in CfE. This gets pupils to think about how their learning is going and how they feel about their own learning. The ‘reflective’ attribute gets pupils to think about their strengths and weaknesses, which is similar to what Growth Mindset does for pupils in CfE.


The differences I noticed between the IB attributes and the CfE capacities were that the CfE is very much centred around Scotland; for example, although pupils do learn about the world around them, the ‘responsible citizens’ capacity states that children have the knowledge and understanding of the world and Scotland’s place in it. Whereas, IB schools do not have a focus and learn about the world around them in greater detail. In addition, I noticed that the ‘communicators’ attribute makes it a priority that pupils can speak more than one language in order to achieve better communication with the world around them, however, the CfE has made language learning bigger in schools, there is still less of a focus on speaking more than one language than in an IB school. Lastly, the ‘principled’ attribute teaches pupils to take responsibility for their own actions and their consequences, however this is not expressed as much in the CfE.

Through my educational experience, I have seen the attribute ‘reflective’ on more than one occasion. The first occasion I witnessed the attribute during my work experience in S6 when the class were focusing on Growth Mindset. The class completed a survey with the teacher on how they felt their learning was going throughout the year, being asked questions such as how they feel about how smart they felt, or how good they felt at a subject. In addition, I also came across it in my MA1 placement when the teacher did a Reflective Learning activity with the pupils, providing stations around the class rooms with questions about what they enjoyed learning about etc. Pupils have also been ‘risk- takers’ through completing the Chilli Challenge in my MA1 placement as well through having the chance to challenge themselves in choosing an activity that could be a bit more difficult.


On the whole, both curricula are extremely similar, and both work very well and provide pupils all over the world with the best quality education.




IB Reflective Activity 1

The International Baccalaureate (IB) is a not-for-profit foundation, motivated by its mission  to create a better world through education (IB, 2015). From researching it further, it has made me realise connections IB and the Curriculum for Excellence (CfE). The aims of IB are that it centres on learners, develops effective approaches to teaching and learning, works within global contexts and explores significant content (IB, 2013). The aim of the CfE is to help children and young people gain the knowledge, skills and attributes needed for life in the 21st century, including skills for learning, life and work (Education Scotland, 2019).

The aims of the IB align with the aims of the CfE, for example, to begin, the aim of ‘centres on learners’ is very similar to the fact that in the CfE the children are the main focus of absolutely everything that goes on in the classroom. The pupils are the centre of attention and it is important to give them the best quality education possible.

In addition, similarly to CfE, IB develops effective approaches to teaching and learning. From my educational experience in the CfE, I have seen many effective approaches to teaching and learning such as creating good classroom talk, formative assessment and good restorative behaviour management. I can understand that IB will use similar approaches to help encourage people to listen to each other and learn from each other through communication, and understand each other better through the restorative approach and also through having a mix of different cultures existing in the school.

Furthermore, IB gets children to work within global contexts and explores significant content. This is similar to the aim of the CfE where children are given skills for learning, life and work and skills and attributes for living in the 21st century. These align because content learnt in both IB and CfE schools are significant and apply to the principle of relevance in the CfE. Skills needed for the CfE aim are significant to contributing positively into society and learning within the global context is also significant to this as well because it is important to be understanding about those who are different from you to contribute positively into society and to decrease issues such as racism. Children in CfE also learn about different cultures through RMPS which also helps to decrease these issues. Both curriculua encourage learners to be open minded.

Throughout my experience in working with children, I have experienced the aspect of making content significant through adding meaning to lessons for the pupils to help them be more engaged and ready to learn. For example, throughout my MA1 placement, I taught the pupils literacy in a Harry Potter context (which was their class novel at the time) which helped them to be more interested in the topic and encouraged them to engage more as it was in a context that the pupils were really interested in. It made them more enthusiastic about learning literacy which helped to improve their learning experiences.