Introduction to Understanding the IB Diploma Program

WHAT IS AN IB EDUCATION?

An IB Education explained – Once the preserve of international schools, the IB Diploma is an emerging rival to state-based certificates – such as the Higher School Certificate (HSC) in NSW and the Victoria Certificate of Education (VCE) in Victoria. The diploma is offered in a range of public and private schools.

But what is it about the IB Diploma that makes it an attractive option to some parents but not to others? And how is it different from existing state-based curricula and certificates?

The IB Diploma Program is renowned for its international perspective, emphasizing critical thinking, research skills, and a well-rounded education.

It is a two-year program for 16-19 year olds. Students pursue a diverse range of subjects to ensure a holistic learning experience.

The curriculum is modelled by a Diploma Curriculum Framework with six academic areas surrounding the three core requirements.

There are expectations and students need to be passionate and diligent. The breadth of this program does allow for students to find personal academic pathways.

There are SIX pedagogical principles that underpin all IB programmes, which align with the Living School vision.

Teaching in IB programmes is:

  1. based on inquiry (a key curriculum foundation of Living School)
  2. focused on conceptual understanding (Concept frame underpins Living School’s Three Threads)
  3. developed in local and global contexts
  4. focused on effective teamwork and collaboration
  5. differentiated to meet the needs of all learners
  6. informed by assessment (formative and summative).
 

Over the course of the two-year program, students:

  • Study six subjects chosen from the six Subject Groups

  • Complete an Extended Essay

  • Follow a Theory of Knowledge course (TOK)

  • Participate in Creativity, Activity, Service (CAS).

Normally students’ study loads comprise:

  1. Three of the six subjects are studied at Higher Level (courses representing 240 teaching hours over the two years)

  2. The remaining three subjects are studied at Standard Level (courses representing 150 teaching hours over the two years).

The International Baccalaureate has set very clear guidelines and regulations that students must achieve in order to receive the Diploma qualification. Students can still find success by earning  DP single subject certificates. It is quite common. Students all begin with the full diploma, then, if it is in the best interests of the students, they can revert to single subjects.

Students don’t have to register for the full diploma until around mid year two of the programme. This is when the internal assessments are being submitted and registering for the external examinations are sent to the IB.

Seeds for success image

 

THE CORE COMPONENTS

There are core foundation subjects underpinning the IB DP.  These add depth and breadth to the learning program and make the final years preparation for lifelong learning.

  1. Theory of Knowledge (TOK): Encourages students to question the nature of knowledge, exploring its origins, validity, and practical applications across disciplines.

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  1. Extended Essay (EE): Students engage in independent research, writing an extended essay on a topic of personal interest, cultivating their research and writing skills.

  2. Creativity, Activity, Service (CAS): Promotes experiential learning through participation in creative pursuits, physical activities, and community service, fostering a sense of social responsibility.

Official video on the CORE components

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CURRICULUM SUBJECT GROUPS

Students choose courses from six subject groups, ensuring a well-rounded education.

Each Subject Group has a selection of learning areas.  

Living School has a selection of defined learning areas that suit our qualified teacher fraternity from each of the below:

  1. Language and Literature
  2. Language Acquisition
  3. Individuals and Societies
  4. Sciences
  5. Mathematics
  6. The Arts
    (or an additional subject from the aforementioned groups)

Where we cannot offer a specific learning area, there is the opportunity for a ‘distance education’ online offering via the IB ratified Pamoja platform.

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KEY ASPECTS OF THE IB DIPLOMA

Assessment: Assessment is both internal and external, including examinations, coursework, and individual research projects. Students are evaluated on their knowledge, critical thinking, and application of skills.

International Mindedness: The IBDP emphasizes global awareness, encouraging students to appreciate different perspectives, languages, and cultures. This international-minded approach prepares them for an interconnected world.

University Recognition: IB Diploma holders are highly regarded by universities globally. The program emphasizes skills such as critical thinking, research, and time management, ensuring students are well-prepared for higher education.

Change your Mind of students learning

LEARNER PROFILES

Holistic Development: Beyond academics, the IBDP focuses on nurturing students’ personal and social development. There is a specific focus on Learning Profiles.  

CAS activities, in particular, encourage students to be well-rounded individuals with a commitment to community service.

Learner Profiles explicitly focus on the qualities we need to nurture to develop well-rounded, purposeful and content people.

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UNDERSTANDING MORE ABOUT WHY...

What is of paramount importance in the pre-university stage is not what is learned but learning how to learn…

“What matters is not the absorption and regurgitation either of fact or pre-digested interpretations of facts, but the development of powers of the mind or ways of thinking which can be applied to new situations and new presentations of facts as they arise.”  

(Peterson 1972)

From its beginnings, the DP has adopted a broadly constructivist and student-centred approach, and has emphasized the importance of connectedness and concurrency of learning.

SUMMARY

The International Baccalaureate Diploma Program (IBDP) is a comprehensive and globally recognized educational framework designed for students aged 16 to 19.

International Mindedness: The IBDP emphasizes global awareness, encouraging students to appreciate different perspectives, languages, and cultures. This international-minded approach prepares them for an interconnected world.

University Recognition: IB Diploma holders are highly regarded by universities globally. The program emphasizes skills such as critical thinking, research, and time management, ensuring students are well-prepared for higher education.

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