The International Baccalaureate
The International Baccalaureate was founded in Geneva, Switzerland in 1968 as a non-profit educational foundation. Its original purpose was to facilitate the international mobility of students preparing for university by providing schools with a curriculum and diploma recognized by universities around the world.
All IB programmes are based on a constructivist understanding of how children learn. Constructivism is a theory of cognition, now widely used and accepted, that asserts that knowledge is not passively learned but actively built and refers to approaches that recognize the importance of engaging and challenging existing mental models in learners in order to improve understanding and performance. In the light of constructivist approach to teaching and learning, IB programmes and designed to stimulate young people to be intellectually curious and equip them with the knowledge, conceptual understanding, skills, reflective practices, and attitudes needed to become autonomous lifelong learners (Hill & Saxton, 2014).
The IB Learner Profile
The aim of all IB programmes is to develop internationally minded people who, recognizing their common humanity and shared guardianship of the planet, help to create a better and more peaceful world.
IB learners strive to be:
They develop their natural curiosity. They acquire the skills necessary to conduct inquiry and research and show independence in learning. They actively enjoy learning and this love of learning will be sustained throughout their lives.
They explore concepts, ideas and issues that have local and global significance. In so doing, they acquire in-depth knowledge and develop understanding across a broad and balanced range of disciplines.
They exercise initiative in applying thinking skills critically and creatively to recognize and approach complex problems, and make reasoned, ethical decisions.
They understand and express ideas and information confidently and creatively in more than one language and in a variety of modes of communication. They work effectively and willingly in collaboration with others.
They act with integrity and honesty, with a strong sense of fairness, justice and respect for the dignity of the individual, groups and communities. They take responsibility for their own actions and the consequences that accompany them.
They understand and appreciate their own cultures and personal histories, and are open to the perspectives, values and traditions of other individuals and communities. They are accustomed to seeking and evaluating a range of points of view, and are willing to grow from the experience.
They show empathy, compassion and respect towards the needs and feelings of others. They have a personal commitment to service, and act to make a positive difference to the lives of others and to the environment.
They approach unfamiliar situations and uncertainty with courage and forethought, and have the independence of spirit to explore new roles, ideas and strategies. They are brave and articulate in defending their beliefs.
They understand the importance of intellectual, physical and emotional balance to achieve personal well-being for themselves and others.
They give thoughtful consideration to their own learning and experience. They are able to assess and understand their strengths and limitations in order to support their learning and personal development.
The Diploma Programme
The DP is among the most rigorous international secondary school qualifications- one of the very few that is readily recognized and accepted by institutions of higher education around the globe (Hill & Saxton, 2014).
DP is designed for students in the 16-19 age range. It is a broad-based two-year course that aims to encourage students to be knowledgeable and inquiring, but also caring and compassionate. There is a strong emphasis on encouraging students to develop intercultural understanding, open-mindedness, and the attitudes necessary for them to respect and evaluate a range of points of view (DP Guide, 2015).
The Diploma Programme Hexagon
The course is presented as six academic areas enclosing a central core. It encourages the concurrent study of a broad range of academic areas. Students study:
· two modern languages (or a modern language and a classical language)
· humanities or social science subject
· experimental science
· creative arts
It is this comprehensive range of subjects that makes the Diploma Programme a demanding course of study designed to prepare students effectively for university entrance. In each of the academic areas students have flexibility in making their choices, which means they can choose subjects that particularly interest them and that they may wish to study further at the university.
In addition to the six (6) academic areas, DP students also need to participate and comply with the three requirements that make up the core of the hexagon. Reflection on all these activities is a principle that lies at the heart of the thinking behind the Diploma Programme.
Theory of Knowledge Course (TOK)
Encourages students to think about the nature of knowledge, to reflect on the process of learning in all the subjects and to make connections across the academic areas.
Extended Essay (EE)
A substantial piece of writing of up to 4, 000 words that enables students to investigate a topic of special interest that they have chosen themselves. It also encourages them to develop the skills of independent research that will be expected at university.
Creativity, Activity, Service (CAS)
Involves students in experiential learning through a range of artistic, sporting, physical and service activities.
Students are required to choose one subject from each of the six academic areas, although they can choose a second subject from groups 1 to 5 instead of a group 6 subject. Normally, three subjects (and not more than four) are taken at higher level (HL), and the others are taken at standard level (SL). The IB recommends 240 teaching hours for HL subjects and 150 hours for SL. Subjects at HL are studied in greater depth and breadth than at SL.
The IB approaches to learning skills
The IB approaches to teaching skills
The IBDP subjects at Desheng School (International)
Group 1 Studies in Language and Literature
· Chinese Language and Literature (SL or HL)
· English Language and Literature (SL or HL)
Group 2 Language Acquisition
· Chinese ab initio
· Chinese B (SL or HL)
· English B (SL or HL)
Group 3 Individuals and Societies
· Business Management (SL or HL)
· Economics (SL or HL)
· Geography (SL or HL)
· History (SL or HL)
Group 4 Sciences
· Biology (SL or HL)
· Chemistry (SL or HL)
· Physics (SL or HL)
Group 5 Mathematics
· Mathematics (SL or HL)
Group 6 The Arts
· Music (SL or HL)
Approaches to teaching and learning. 2014. International Baccalaureate Organization.
Diploma Programme Guide. 2015. International Baccalaureate Organization.
Gillet, J. (2014). Approaches to teaching and learning in the DP. International Baccalaureate Organization.
Hill, I. & Saxton, S. (2014). The International Baccalaureate (IB) programme: An international gateway to higher education and beyond. Higher Learning Research Communications, 4(3), 42-52.