Education for sustainability: Students lead the way

This paper examines the origins and evolution of sustainability education (SE) before outlining one expression of contemporary good practice in SE in a school context, including the ways in which schools can assess progress towards sustainability. Commonalities between the IB learner profile and good practice in SE are identified and questions for self-reflection are posed. The paper concludes with the examination of a case study of an IB World School that is embracing a student-led, whole-school approach to sustainability.

About IB position papers

IB Position Papers are IB commissioned works by recognized experts in the field on topics of interest to the IB community.

The papers represent the opinions of the authors commissioned to write them, and while they may generally align with IB philosophies, they do not necessarily represent the official positions or policies of the organization.

They are meant to serve as a resource for, and to create discussion among, IB practitioners

Academic honesty in the IB

Across all programmes, IB learners’ work needs to exemplify the values of honesty and integrity, both of which underpin the IB curriculum. Almost all learners behave honestly but a few do not. In the 21st century, opportunities for misuse of resources and misunderstanding of expectations are significantly greater than in the past. This paper outlines the challenges that learners face in demonstrating honesty and how teachers, schools and learners themselves can share responsibility for ensuring that all actions in support of academic honesty are integrated and consistent. The paper suggests actions for the Primary Years Programme (PYP), Middle Years Programme (MYP) and Diploma Programme (DP), and recommends that IB World Schools create policies for academic honesty that support learners and safeguard the integrity of IB awards. Policies and procedures need to be especially clear on managing collusion and plagiarism as, in these two areas in particular, learners need to develop specific skills in order to be able to apply the rules and to understand why doing so is important. In cases where formal citation is expected, schools should provide detailed guidance to learners. There is much good practice already in use on pedagogical approaches to managing academic honesty and on deterring learners from plagiarism. By creating a local academic honesty policy, drawing upon and using such guidance and good practice, schools will help ensure they can manage these complex issues.

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Upload FR: L’intégrité en milieu scolaire dans le cadre des programmes de l’IB

Upload SP: La probidad académica en el IB

Concept-based teaching and learning

This paper examines the characteristics of concept-based curriculum and instruction models and identifies the International Baccalaureate (IB) programmes as a three-dimensional, concept-based model. A discussion of the benefits of concept-based instruction supports the majority of attributes in the IB learner profile. Concept-based instruction requires an understanding of synergistic thinking, transfer of knowledge and social construction of knowledge. This paper addresses these areas and discusses them in the context of the required IB pedagogy. It concludes with a review of the challenges in implementing a concept-based model and a summary of the rewards.

 

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Upload FR: L’enseignement et l’apprentissage reposant sur des concepts

Upload SP: Enseñanza y aprendizaje basados en conceptos

Learners without borders: A curriculum for global citizenship

In the past two decades the success of the International Baccalaureate (IB) in international education has led to a significant dissemination of its ideals and philosophy. As a result other programmes are competing with the IB in education for global citizenship. In this highly competitive climate the IB must continue to develop and clearly articulate the global elements of its distinctive programmes.
The IB and IB World Schools are leaders in international education. Collaborative work with educators in IB schools and the IB Educator Network provides the foundation and a resource for the development of IB programmes.
This paper shall argue for a curriculum that strengthens the elements of global citizenship so that it becomes an approach to learning, not an addition to the curriculum. Learning for global citizenship must include specific attention to philosophy, pedagogy, content and assessment. Global citizenship requires a knowledge base and understanding of global issues together with critical thinking skills and pluralistic attitudes. In this era of rapid change, technology skills contribute significantly to a 21st century global curriculum and students’ ability to make change in the world.

Download: Learners without borders: A curriculum for global citizenship

Apprenants sans frontières: un programme d’études pour la citoyenneté mondiale

Aprendizaje sin fronteras: un currículo para la ciudadanía global

Thought, word and deed: The roles of cognition, language and culture in teaching and learning in IB World Schools

This paper examines three themes—culture, language and cognition—which are of fundamental importance for teaching and learning in linguistically and culturally diverse schools, and explores the  synthesis of  all three. Indeed, the central thesis of this paper is that they are not only connected, but that both language and cognitive processes are cultural artifacts, whose nature varies from culture to culture. This has profound implications for teaching and learning in IB World Schools.

Evidence from the fields of cognitive, discursive and cross-cultural psychology is considered, as well as neurolinguistics and sociocultural theory. Culture is seen as a discursive practice, in which meaning must be understood both in cultural terms and in the light of individual contexts (in the way that individuals use language to construct their own explanations of reality). It is our culture that determines our language, which in turn reflects the way that we categorize our thoughts about the world and our experiences in it.

Language and thought are seen as interdependent manifestations of culture, rather than having any causative relationship. Indeed, it would not be unreasonable to suggest that there is little difference in their nature in terms of cognitive processes. The cultural link between language and cognitive processes is explored and it is asserted that as the nature of higher cognitive functions varies among cultures, continued education in a different cultural setting will cause dissonance and inhibit learning.

The paper identifies three areas in which cultural dissonance among teachers and students from differing linguistic and cultural backgrounds is particularly problematic:

•      the effects of language and culture in the cognitive realm

•      the difficulties caused by the differing classroom discourse patterns to which different students are accustomed

•      the effect of the predominance of the target language in the school on the development of the cultural and linguistic identity of the students.

Download: Thought, word and deed: The roles of cognition, language and culture in teaching and learning in IB World Schools

Download: Pensée, parole et acte : le rôle de la cognition, du langage et de la culture dans l’enseignement et l’apprentissage dans les écoles du monde de l’IB

Download: Pensamiento, palabra y obra: la función de la cognición, el lenguaje y la cultura en la enseñanza y el aprendizaje en los Colegios del Mundo del IB

Holistic education: An interpretation for teachers in the IB programmes

There have been claims that holistic education reflects the education of the whole child but little clarity is offered to explain what this means, and in a field of education that is somewhat diverse, it is not surprising that there is confusion over what holistic education represents.

The purpose of this paper is to bring some clarity to what is meant by holistic education and to outline the characteristics and outcomes associated with it. This lack of clarity is an obstacle for teachers, parents and students alike and has the potential to obscure the advantages that this educational approach offers. Furthermore, such clarity would facilitate a comparison with other educational initiatives and allow curriculum designers to test their claims about whether they are delivering a programme of holistic education.

Download: Holistic education: An interpretation for teachers in the IB programmes [PDF]

East is East and West is West

Considering evidence from different authorities, East is East and West is West analyses the IB learner profile and asks how appropriate it is for the cultures of East Asia.

The paper concludes that the learner profile does indeed reflect the strong Western humanist foundations of the IB, but accepts that the organization’s successful growth (not least in its Asia-Pacific region) makes sudden change unlikely and undesirable.

Instead, it recommends that the learner profile be reviewed regularly and used as a focus for
internal debate on this issue.

Download: East is East and West is West [PDF]

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