Jan Stipek, head of professional development (PD) for the Diploma and Career-related Programmes, cares a great deal about IB educators who deliver professional development (PD) to teachers. He explains the strong link between effective workshop leaders and improved students outcomes, below.
How are workshop leaders critical to student outcomes?
Highly experienced and trained IB educators ensure high-quality experiences among both teachers in PD workshops and students in classrooms. Their expertise and guidance motivate teachers and provide them with the know-how required to take their teaching practice to the next level, within an IB context. IB workshop leaders make a huge contribution to the mastery of IB educators, which in turn, has impact on students. Modelling effective strategies and behaviours that are underpinned by research can have a strong positive impact on the quality of teaching and learning.
How do you develop effective workshop leaders?
IB workshop leaders are trained to let workshop participants ‘own’ their subject—whatever the topic. The approach, based in constructivism and backward planning, is about envisioning the end result and then working toward it. This means that participants will construct their own understanding of what students need to effectively learn. Then they will build a path to it in their own classrooms.
How are IB workshops different from competing brands of PD?
We aim to inspire and reinvigorate workshop leaders by sharing with them effective behaviours associated with the pedagogy that underpins IB programmes. IB workshops generally receive excellent ratings from participants because they are relevant to teachers’ needs and they demonstrate constructive and inquiry-based approaches. IB workshop leaders are experts in leading experiential discovery. They place IB students at the center of every IB workshop. Everything undertaken in an IB workshop is about improving the students’ learning journey.
What new offerings are there for Career-related Programme (CP) educators?
We have introduced ten new CP workshops, providing PD opportunities for both new and experienced CP teachers. By the end of 2016, we will deliver a full range of CP workshops, including a Category 3 workshop. CP workshops help participants focus on the programme’s core components: personal and professional skills, service learning, language development and the reflective project. There also are workshops tailored for school leaders who are critical to CP implementation: namely coordinators, administrators and guidance counsellors.
What’s new for the DP?
Customarily offered at the top of a new calendar year are subject specific seminars. This year, these seminars focus on the new Extended Essay (EE) guide – for teaching this year and for assessment in 2018. Updated material includes information about the new assessment model, the introduction of three mandatory reflection sessions and new teacher support material. A great benefit of the EE seminars is that IB curriculum managers are onsite to take your questions and provide answers. They participate in discussions and give you information you can use as soon as you return to your school. EE seminars take place from mid-February until the end of April in 13 great destinations around the world!
DP educators also can look forward to a greater variety of Category 1, 2 and 3 workshops as we head into 2017. We are redeveloping workshops for geography, film, psychology and anthropology, which will offer new resources to DP teachers. Plus, there are new online resources for subscribers of DP Advantage, the PD subscription service designed for sharing within professional learning communities.
There is a lot to choose from! We in PD hope that you see continuous improvement in the range and quality of IB workshops. We understand that schools operate in different contexts and as a result, we believe that we can cater to all schools’ needs through presentation of a comprehensive workshop catalogue and flexible delivery models.