Internationally Inspired

Back to the grind.  Watching numerous TED talks is the grind yeah?? This year is set to bring about a whole new plethora of knowledge and interests. I have chosen to take the International Baccalaureate elective and my reasoning for this is to broaden my own approach to teaching while also increasing my experience in a classroom. At 28 I have in no way learnt all I can from ‘life’ but I feel I would gain more from a school based placement than a work or community based one. Especially at this point in my own journey.

I would have loved to go abroad and see the IB in an international context, unfortunately my motherly duties dictated I pursue a more local route. Therefore I am on my way to a local IB school next March. Knowing where I’m going has allowed enthusiasm to grow and enabled me to embrace the international mindedness at the IB’s core. Indeed, the more I read and inquire into the Primary Years Programme (PYP) the more I draw similarities between their ethos and my own personal teaching philosophy, a predominantly constructivist approach.

I would be outside learning and engaging with the local environment every day if I could. Teaching children more about taxes, inflation, seasonal foods, local wildlife, budgeting, questioning and local industry. When a child’s inquiry is given adequate time and genuine response then a child can build their own set of beliefs and values. This is not because there’s not room for it in the classroom but learning within REAL context and genuine interaction will surely help it to stick better. Children can then attach their emotional state/environment to the information in order to recall or build upon this when needed. This is all a very personal view point into how I believe all children and adults are individuals, however I have also experienced these benefits first hand. It is also  Children are more than capable of discovering links and applying their growing knowledge when they are given opportunity and challenge.

I cannot help but compare and contrast the Curriculum for Excellence with the PYP programme when we first inquired into the IB. I couldn’t help but assume (never assume people!!) that the CfE wanted to possibly emulate the well established, ever evolving IB (1960s). The PYP’s focus on child led inquiry may have the equally floral jargon but the CfE ultimately lacks the specific trait of: investment. Not just constant financial investment (invigoration) but emotional investment from all involved. The IB was a philosophy created through necessity, for an international curriculum that met the needs of those who embraced the international approach to life and work. Parents/carers choose the IB schools as an alternative to the local schools and their curriculum, not just because it suits their lifestyles. The CfE wanted to breed excellence and prepare Scottish children for the world, however it wasn’t deemed a needed leap by all within the education system or those who use the schools. The choice and investment is not as universal.The IB also has 40 odd years on the CfE, that’s a wealth of hiccups and triumphs leading to subsequent and on-going development of the curriculum and approach.

Inquiry is key to the IB and that is allowing children to question the world around them, delve into the possibilities that arise from mistakes or success and reflecting upon the whole process through a peer and self-reflecting lens. The whole international aspect is not just physical it is about the willingness to adopt another’s viewpoint and respect the world we share. Yes, it does sound idealistic in the way I’ve written it but I think that’s my favourite part. The IB helps children foster clear self-image, allowing them to attribute their success to the whole journey not just the outcome.

I’m looking forward to learning more about the IB approach and allowing it to inter-link with my current teaching philosophy, driving it forward.


1 thought on “Internationally Inspired

  1. Nikki Doig

    What a thought-provoking post Becky! Your passion and criticality shine through. They were key drivers in our collective inquiry into the PYP.
    I love what you say about how the international aspect is more than physical. You clearly have a strong, ever-evolving personal philosophy of teaching which is providing a touchstone for critical analysis of the different issues you are exploring throughout your studies. I imagine your IB practicum will give you lots more food for thought. I hope it goes well!


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