International Baccalaureate (IB) educational programmes are taught around the world, including in both international schools overseas and in state and private schools in the UK. Following on from part one of our interview with Judith Fabian, Chief Academic Officer of the International Baccalaureate Organization, this time we learn more about IB programmes, including the training commitment required to teach them.
So could you tell us about the training commitment required to teach on these programmes?
In January 2010, the IB implemented a new framework around the globe. This exciting initiative is one of the key professional development strategic aims to align the processes in each IB region and work towards a more consistent worldwide professional development framework. The IB offers a three-category system, and each category has distinct goals and objectives that cater to a wide range of educators with a variety of IB experiences. Professional development should be ongoing for all educators, irrespective of their experience, and so the IB offers something for everyone with a range of face-to-face, online, and blended professional development opportunities around the globe.
Category one workshops
The overall purpose of these workshops is to provide training and assistance for schools that have decided to apply for IB authorization. They are equally relevant for educators who are new to a school with an existing IB programme and those interested in joining an IB World School. The emphasis is on the relevant curriculum, assessment documents, IB philosophy and framework, to enable educators to successfully begin teaching the relevant programme.
Category two workshops
The overall purpose of workshops in this category is to provide a forum for experienced IB educators, focusing on programme delivery. There is an emphasis on teaching and learning methodologies and exploring best practice in the classroom.
Category three workshops
The overall purpose of these workshops is to provide a forum for experienced educators to build on and enhance their professional development portfolios. Participants engage in in-depth investigation into specific areas of interest and expertise. These workshops provide new and exciting curriculum- and non-curriculum-based workshops, including programme-specific topics, curriculum and assessment, building teachers’ pedagogical skills, and a range of continuum workshops.
How might the IB ‘approach’ differ from other programmes when teaching children a specific subject?
This applies largely to the Diploma Programme:
- the course lasts 2 years with all external assessment at the end; it is not modular
- all DP courses aim to develop international mindedness in students and to that end include elements that focus on issues and topics of global relevance
- the assessment of each subject in the DP includes internal assessment (teacher assessed work, moderated by the IB); IB assessment has high validity in terms of the nature of the assessment.
If you were promoting the IB to teachers thinking about working in an overseas school, what would your message be?
Teachers really enjoy teaching IB programmes! They are challenging and demanding, but provide good teachers with the opportunity to develop a curriculum to suit the needs and learning contexts of their students in collaboration with their colleagues. They are student centred, holistic in nature; this is the way most teachers want to teach. Additionally, if you are teaching an IB programme, you are part of a global learning community and have the opportunity to participate in the review and development of the programmes, or train to be a workshop leader or site visitor for the authorisation and evaluation of schools. Being part of the IB community provides many and varied opportunities to develop professional skills and understanding.