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The "international" aspect of IB

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I am aware that the "international" part of IB refers to the fact that schools from all over the world have the IB programme. Everyone in the world learns the same material and completes the same assessments for each given subject area.

However, one day in English class, my teacher said that the word "international" in IB could refer to the fact tnat the programme provides international awareness to the students involved in it. She mentioned that we are all global citizens and that learning other languages, travel to foreign countries, and general international awareness is becoming more and more important. She also believes that the IB programme encourages this. Whenever someone went on a trip to a foreign country over a break, she was immediately interested.

Honestly, I don't know where she got that idea. I don't think my school does anything to promote international awareness among IB students. I feel we just attend harder classes than the average high school student and maybe get a university credit along the way. I suppose in the Language B class, one would be exposed to another culture by learning another language, but the students don't really get a chance to practice that language outside of the classroom. My school offers trips to Europe for any students interested (IB and regular) during spring break, but the timing is awkward for second year IB students with study time for the school mock finals and May exams. In general, the IB students (especially diploma students) are too busy with schoolwork and other activities to go on international trips.

So, with all that backgroud information, here are my questions for thought.

  • Does your school promote international awareness through the IB programme? If so, how? If not, do you think it should?
  • Do you think there is greater signiificance/meaning to IB than just lots of homework and assessments?
  • If your school offered either mandatory or optional international trips for IB students what educational value would that have?

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Guest Positron

To your first question, yes, schools should promote international awareness through the IB programme. It's not only my opinion, but it's quite clearly stated in the IB mission statement.

"The International Baccalaureate aims to develop inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people who help to create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect. To this end the organization works with schools, governments and international organizations to develop challenging programmes of international education and rigorous assessment. These programmes encourage students across the world to become active, compassionate and lifelong learners who understand that other people, with their differences, can also be right."

^A direct quotation from the IB mission statement (http://ibo.org/mission/index.cfm)

And to be honest, the international trips schools offer are just an excuse for students go and have fun. I mean, of course you do learn something, but that's not the reason why people go on those trips.

Edited by Positron

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Does your school promote international awareness through the IB programme? If so, how? If not, do you think it should?

So, my school does promote international awareness through the IB programme and everything. I like everything we do in IB. The fact is, that since I've started IB I've stopped cursing (yeah!) and all my classmates too, they started being more responsible and don't judge anyone, and even stand in defence of someone who has been bullied or anything based on predjudice and well, judgmental. The things EVERYONE should do. Not only the IB kids... We are aware of everything happening around the world, we do diff. projects with people from diff.states and countries, we learn about different religions, ways of living (TOK), but the ONLY thing that is bugging me... (Well, I need to confess)... is that in my English class... Before I say anything just to mention that I do understand that ENGLISH is mainly spoken in GB and USA and that we should learn their history, their customs (teach said that the exams and everything will be based on their culture - the part of the syllabus about the culture ofc.) and sth about them but aren't there more countries where English is spoken?? Aren't we supposed to be learning about them too?? SInce this is ENGLISH and I understand why can't we learn stuff about Croatia, Turkey...and so on... but I don't understand why can't we learn things about other ENGLISH SPEAKING COUNTRIES? link (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_where_English_is_an_official_language). There are many countries with English as a spoken languange - not necessarily the official languange, but is spoken... I understand that English originated from GB and USA, and so on, but it has spread, and well, takes different 'shapes' if I may say so in different countries. And I think that would be a good thing to learn too... at least a bit :D. Just my oppinion :)

Maybe I'm wrong, but that's how I understood my teach. That everything we do, here in IB English about culture must be based on the culture of the USA or GB, she hasn't mentioned Australia (or I haven't heard) :D

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Does your school promote international awareness through the IB programme? If so, how? If not, do you think it should?

Yes it does! In English through the different literature novels we read for sure. When we did the first part of the book list through the interactive orals there was almost always a cultural aspect that was discussed for each book. Although a lot of the times our discussions and presentations are very superficial and not in depth enough (in my opinion). I strongly believe that in English we should have much more discussions about the different cultural aspects that we stumble upon through the books we read especially since it's our first language and we should be able to develop complex understandings of it afterwards.

In Spanish, our teacher emphasizes a lot on general knowledge. Not only of Spain but the world. Every time in class she goes on for a period of time about history and how it affects present day. Also with Spanish interactive orals both group and individual, I guess it's best to develop a worldly understanding to do well on them- at least an understanding of Hispanic countries, I guess.

Also I think TOK does this as well. I think in TOK we open our eyes a lot to all kinds of different people regardless of who they are and where they're from. That's where we begin to become a little less judgmental of others and be more open and tolerant to differences.

Do you think there is greater signiificance/meaning to IB than just lots of homework and assessments?I

Yep. Especially since in my school everything is so laid back that we hardly get homework and assessments. Doing things independently have made me much more curious about other places and the lifestyles of these people. I think IB makes us recognize a lot of things that we've disregarded in the past. Being more balanced has also been something that can never be assessed and I think this is one of the main benefits I've received since I've started my IB course. Things have become much more interesting ever since :]

If your school offered either mandatory or optional international trips for IB students what educational value would that have?

Being on international trips before, I think it's a great opportunity for others to see life beyond where they live in another way besides through their textbooks of through videos online. It can act as a supplement to what you've learn before about other people. It's amazing when you actually witness things before you than never being able to relate to it because you're so disconnected from those you are learning about. It just proves that you can have fun and learn at the same time.

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I'm gonna home in on the second question, does IB have any greater meaning than just harder subjects and coursework?

I think it does, with my IB (hopefully) diploma, I could go back home to Sweden and study at university there. Or, given that I get accepted, I will be off to Dublin in september.

It's important that the IB is more difficult than the normal, or most common, courses because it shows you're a cut above the rest, you don't shy away from hard work and you are mature enough to make decisions independently. IB students develop transferable skills at a higher level. All my universities were impressed by me because I have a more common qualification taken two years early with a decent grade, except for one university who only rejected me because my predicted grades weren't good enough.

IB might seem like hard work, insane levels of coursework and a superhuman amount of exams, but you will look back at it and I hope you won't regret choosing it because I believe the IB is one of the best choices a student of our age could ever make.

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