While the IB Diploma Programme (DP) and Career-related Programme (CP) go hand-in-hand since they are designed for students of the same age group, some schools—or rather, one school in particular—is connecting the dots between the CP and the Middle Years Programme (MYP) in some really cool ways. Building a transition plan between the two programmes is Jason Reagin, the CP coordinator at Chadwick International School in South Korea. Listen in as IB Voices talks with Jason about the similarities between the two programmes, the shared skillset they develop in students, and more.
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Zach: Thanks so much for joining us on IB Voices, Jason!
Would you mind telling us a little bit about yourself?
Jason: Absolutely. Thanks for having me on. I have been teaching for close to 23 years now, and the bulk of that has been in IB schools. I started my career in the United States and the state of Georgia (where I’m from) and then had an opportunity to work in China—that’s where I got the bug for international education.
I started as an industrial arts and technical education teacher. And so the idea of that subject in the MYP, especially being treated as fairly as the other subjects was very appealing to me because we are often kind of considered the subject that wasn’t as important as the other subjects, but I love that it’s prominent. So the MYP especially is very similar to any of the other subjects. And so that was very appealing to me. And through several years of working with that, I moved back to Georgia with my family for a year working at an IB School. And then we went back to China and now we’re in South Korea. So we’re in our third year in South Korea and I’m in an international school there. And I am currently the IB career-related program coordinator. And that’s been a really fun journey as well.
I understand that you’re working on creating a transition plan, or you’re establishing some formal transition, from MYP to CP – is that correct?
Jason: That is correct. So our school, Chadwick International School, has all four IB programmes. Last year we were authorized as a CP school, which was important to us because some of our students had aspirations other than the DP. And it wasn’t anything to do with the DP, but it was more about students knowing clearly what their career aspirations were. Therefore, we focused on design and art pathways for those students through the CP. So now we’re in our first year as a CP school, and our students are actually taking career-related studies at a local university, things like film and media arts, as well as engineering and sketching. They’re really starting to follow their passions!
And in our design program and the MYP, we’re beginning to articulate these pathways. We call them individual learning pathways, to give our students exposure and awareness to all kinds of different careers, with the hopes that by the time they reach grade nine or ten, they have a clearer picture of which IB programme they want to pursue. That’s our vision, at least, and it’s pretty popular so far! I’ve already had younger students asking me about it, so I know it’s catching on. and that’s really what we’d love to see grow in our school.
“Some of our students had aspirations other than the DP. And it wasn’t anything to do with the DP, but it was more about students knowing clearly what their career aspirations were.”
Zach: When I was of the Middle Years age, I think every year I wanted to be something different when I grew up. And now when I look at my career, it’s not at all what I thought it would be.
Do you think there’s value in having students in the Middle Years Programme think about their future?
Jason: I agree with you. In middle school, I never would have predicted I would be doing what I am today!
I think for us, it’s more about providing as many experiences as possible for our students, so that by the time they’re getting into the later years of the MYP, they have a clearer picture of what they really want to do. For example, at the moment, we have students who’ve wanted to be filmmakers most of their life, and so that was easy for us to help that student explore that career. But we have other students who have shown interest in a lot of different pathways. One of the CP students that I have has actually changed his focus a bit, and even refocused further, after having some career-related studies courses. He’s shifted his focus more from a creative career to a more technical career. It’s still in the same field, but he’s starting to see where his specific interests lie.
So, you’re right. It’s hard for even a teenager to make decisions like that, but we want to give students the option of generating these individual learning pathways while in the framework of the IB programmes. That’s our vision, and I know it’s a very lofty goal, but that’s what we’d love to see happen!
So what’s your favorite aspect of the MYP or the CP, or is there a shared aspect that you really enjoy?
Jason: One thing that I really love about the MYP, especially in design, is the exposure students have to the entire design cycle. What I mean by that is a lot of our students understand the “making” part of designing something, but the steps that come before that—all the pre-planning and preliminary work—is something that, most likely, a lot of them will actually have careers in. For that reason, I love that part and how it connects with the CP and the PPS course.
And in both programmes, there is a focus on exploring and being encouraged to follow your passions. It’s probably the thing that keeps me excited about going into work every day, just helping students follow exciting pathways that maybe they would love to have in their career one day.
What advice would you give to current IB students who aren’t sure if the IB is right for them?
Jason: I think students today are into being able to learn in their own mode, in their own way with methods that meet their learning preferences. That doesn’t always happen in a lot of school settings, but I do think it happens in an IB school, where students have the opportunity to learn and practice skills that will benefit them for the rest of their life. Collaboration and communication skills, time management, those kinds of things, I believe, while they are taught or at least encouraged in a traditional educational setting, they’re embraced and celebrated by IB schools.
“It’s hard for even a teenager to make decisions like that, but we want to give students the option of generating these individual learning pathways while in the framework of the IB programmes.”
To hear more from Jason, check out his own podcast Design Cast, a podcast about teaching design and STEAM.
This interview was conducted by Zachary Fernebok, Product Marketing Manager for the Diploma Programme and Career-related Programme at the International Baccalaureate, and one of the hosts of IB Voices. Listen to more stories from students, schools, educators and more on the IB Voices podcast.
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