Monthly Archives: August 2019

The history of IB; Educational Trends.

The first trend which I believe to be present in both curricula is ‘child centred’. This along with ‘Education of the wh.ole child’ relates to the CfE as in the CfE, the learners themselves are at the centre of everything that goes on within the classroom. This is inline with ‘getting it right for every child’ (GIRFEC); a legislation which ensures each child receives the best possible education that suits their needs and abilities.

Similarly, the progressive trend of student choice links to CfE as children are encouraged to have personalisation and choice (curricular principle) in their education, again, to ensure they are getting an education which is suited to them. Both of the aforementioned trends confirm that both curricula are very pupil orientated.

Transdisciplinarity is another progressive trend which links closely to interdisciplinary learning which can be seen in the CfE. This is whereby cross-curricular lessons are taught, enhancing learning, by adding either numeracy, health and wellbeing or literacy to each lesson. This is done through the introduction of the Responsibility for All E’s and O’s. I believe this to also link to the curricular principle of relevance. Learners are taught things which are not only useful in the classroom, but also in the wider world.

In relation to classroom teaching, Criterion References, means testing a child’s knowledge on a specific subject area in relation to a set of standards. In the CfE, we do this through the use of Experiences and Outcomes(Es and Os), and by setting clear Learning Intentions and Success Criteria for our pupils. Using the Es and Os helps teachers plan their lessons and set relevant Learning Intentions, and Success Criteria which are achievable and realistic. By doing this, it ensures consistency for our learners.

Lastly, I understand the trend of critical analysis is something which is also embedded within the CfE. In CfE children are encouraged to reflect on their learning, often by setting SMART targets.

The ones mentioned above are those which I believe to be most similar. Many have loosely related traits, and a couple I personally do not see any links to. For example ‘open plan rooms’ is something which I  haven’t seen often in Scotland, potentially something we will see more of in the near future.

IB and CfE: Learner attributes.

There is no doubt that the attributes of the Learner’s Profile and the four capacities of the Curriculum for Excellence (CfE) are very similar. The four capacities of the CfE are much broader than that of the Learner Profile Attributes, yet aim to develop a similar set of skills to the Learner Profile Attributes.

I began to categorise the Learner Attributes using the four capacities as subheadings but quickly found that a lot seem to overlap, and be interchangeable between the four. What was meant to be a sleek and well-presented note page quickly turned into a spaghetti looking thing which you’d likely discourage your class from doing.

In order for our pupils to become a responsible citizen, the CfE states that they should “show respect” for others, which aligns with the Attributes of ‘caring’ and ‘principled’. If  a child is a risk taker, an enquirer, open-minded and learns to be reflective then they are taking steps in the correct direction to become a confident individual. Whilst this is possibly the most obvious capacity to link it to, I believe them to also fall under the capacity of Responsible Citizens, giving them the skills to make effective and appropriate decisions and to understand the world around them. These are just a few examples of clear cross overs.

Though very similar there is a difference in characteristics between the two. As previously touched on, the layout of these are in a different format. With the IB Learner Profile having ten attributes whilst the CfE has only four. Additionally, the CfE teaches us to be enthusiastic, motivated and resilient; three attributes which seem to be absent from the IB Learner Profile. It appears that the CfE is very much focused on Scotland and educating our pupils about the country in which we live. This differs from an IB education as they are very diverse and focus on the whole world around them.

As there are many similar skills and attributes, I did see many of the Learner Attributes coming through within my placement class. They were encouraged to be open minded and accept new ideas, especially whilst completing group work. I also prompted them to be reflective; reflecting on their strengths and weaknesses of that particular piece of work, whether it be in the form of two stars and a wish, verbal discussion or a traffic light system.

Ultimately, both the attributes and capacities aim to aid children in becoming successful, life-long learners by providing the best possible education.

IB and CfE: Aims.

Upon researching the International Baccalaureate (IB), I quickly released that its aims aren’t too dissimilar to those of 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). Whilst 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).

Both curricula appear very similar in terms of their aims. The two provide learning useful to life beyond the school environment. IB explores significant content (Cambridge High School 2015), meanwhile the CfE provides us with Skills for Learning, Skills for Life and Skills for Work (Education Scotland, 2019). These aims twin each other; content taught in both of the aforementioned curricula will be relevant, significant and useful for later life. This also aligns with the CfE curricular principle of design; relevance.

The similarities continue as I delve deeper into research and observe that both curricula are child-focused. IB centres on learners (Cambridge High School, 2015). Similarly, the CfE ensures the child is at the centre of all learning that goes on in the classroom, and wider school. For example, the introduction of the principles of design, most specifically ‘personalisation and choice’, encourages individual learners to work at their own pace and not that of the teacher.

Upon reflection of my experiences with the CfE, I can confidently say that many of aspects of the aims of IB shine through. For example, a core value of IB is that learners must be open minded, understanding and respecting their own and others’ cultures. A large part of the Advanced Higher French course that I completed not too long ago, focuses on cultural appreciation. After studying this, I believe to be much more open minded and I can absolutely see the value of this for all learners. Whilst on placement, I then shared my knowledge with my Primary Five class, during a ‘Scotland vs. France’ topic. Whilst I used French as an example, it is not the sole subject to immerse and educate learners in others’ cultures and beliefs. RMPS, Geography, Modern Studies and Spanish are other subjects I have studied which have allowed me to be more acceptant of the wider world.

Pupils following the IB curriculum are aiming to be “knowledgeable learners who explore local and global significant ideas” (Cambridge High School, 2015). My placement class achieved this aim whilst watching Newsround every morning. I also quizzed them on ‘current affairs’ each week, broadening their awareness of the world around them. This encouraged them to be ‘inquirers’ (Cambridge High School, 2015), curious, enthusiastic, analytical and excited to learn relevant content.

Thus far, I have not come across any major differences between the two curricula and it would, so far, seem that most content could be interchangeable.


Cambridge High School. (2015) What is an IB education? Available At: (Accessed: 10/08/19)

Education Scotland. (2019) What is Curriculum for Excellence? Available At: (Accessed: 10/08/19)