IB is widely known and appreciated for encompassing a different approach to learning. IB aims to provide a research based, internationally-minded curriculum alongside adequate resources for students to enable themselves in this dynamic world.
The PYP curriculum strives to strike a balance between gaining knowledge, development of conceptual understanding, acquisition of important skills, demonstrating positive attitudes and bringing forth responsible behaviour and action.
From this,The essential elements of IB can be identified as Concepts, Skills, Knowledge, Attitudes and Action. IB is driven by 8 key concepts through which students are encouraged to inquire, question and investigate their understanding.
Both students and teachers use these concepts to form discussion topics, develop debates about the subject matter and delve deeper into concepts. The 8 concepts are Form, Function, Causation, Change, Connection, Perspective, Responsibility and Reflection.
Form relates to questions such as what the subject matter is like. The function aims to explain the workings of-
1. Causation leads to the reasoning of the subject matter. Change and connection explore the concept’s dynamic nature and its inter-connectivity. Perspective explores different points of views.
Responsibility and reflection tie up this circle of inquiry and exploration to find the role of oneself.
IB is different from other non-concept-based curriculums. Traditional designs of curriculums did not take into account of how the post-industrial revolution world needs workers who can solve complex problems, act independently and exhibit creativity.
The next element of IB is skills, those that students need in order to be successful in the world.
IB’s view on skills is to complement the construction of meaning by acquiring and applying skill based components; what IB wants the students to be able to do.
There are 5 transdisciplinary skills that IB requires their students to obtain.
These include thinking skills, social skills, communication skills, self-management skills and research skills.
Thinking skills may range from acquisition and application to evaluate knowledge.
Social skills encapsulate of responsibility, cooperation and teamwork skills.
Communication includes the basics of written, non-written, verbal and listening skills.
Skills such as organization, time management, health, awareness and more fall under the umbrella of self-management.
Lastly, research skills include planning, collection of data, recording data, setting parameters, observation, interpretation, and presentation of the collected data.
Also Read: How is IB different from other curriculums?
All of these skills would be developed by students throughout their journey in IB as they involve themselves in this learning environment.
Knowledge is in reference to what IB believes the students should know about. IB uses these themes under the knowledge element to guide both students and teachers on their approach to learning thus helping direct the focus on learning about the individual and the world.
The themes proposed by IB are transdisciplinary, thereby including areas of study from various subjects into each theme.
The 6 themes are: Who we are, Where we are in place and time, How we express ourselves, How the the world works, How we organize ourselves and Sharing the planet.
All themes are globally significant and cover interconnected concepts and are applicable to real life. By including different disciplines such as maths, science, social science and geography into each theme respectively, teaching becomes relevant, flexible and interpretive. This compliments the international mindedness that IB aims to offer and improve global significance for all students.
The focus is then shifted to what IB wants their students to feel, value and demonstrate within and outside of their learning environment. IB recognises that only learning the subject matter through the lens of knowledge, skills and concepts may not be sufficient to be wholly internationally minded as a person.
Therefore, importance is equally given to develop and empower attitudes. Attitudes range from: attitudes towards oneself, other people and the environment. IB encourages all schools to promote attitudes such as Appreciation, Commitment, Confidence, Cooperation, Creativity,
Curiosity, Empathy, Enthusiasm, Independence, Integrity, Respect and Tolerance.
Holistically, these combine to help students value and exhibit empowerment towards themselves such as self-belief, increased imagination, positivity towards learning etc.
Attitudes towards others are exhibited through better relationships, open-mindedness, and team efforts. Lastly, the world itself is viewed with increased appreciation and care. All of this is achieved through interweaving attitudes into every aspect of the curriculum.
The final essential element in IB is action, the way IB wants their students to act.
With all the subject matter and learning experiences gathered from the first 4 elements of IB, students are encouraged to now act upon it.
They are motivated to reflect on their learnings, make informed decisions and perform in a manner that compliments and aids themselves, the society and the wider community. Students are encouraged to take their own, voluntary initiative actions.
They are empowered to use their learning experiences to be more thoughtful towards every decision they make and to further reflect on those actions in the future.
They are driven to demonstrate deeper learning through positive action and service throughout life. With the help of the 5 essential elements of IB, students develop international-mindedness.
By doing so, these internationally-minded individuals demonstrate the attributes of the IB learner profile.
The learners become inquirers through which they nurture curiosity, develop skills for inquiry and research, both independently and with others.
They are more knowledgeable in regard to conceptual understanding across different disciplines.
They develop critical and creative thinking skills to analyse and take responsible action. Expression of oneself in various ways is encouraged.
Students become more principled, reflective, caring and balanced with all their decisions.
Lastly, they become open-minded and allow themselves to take appropriate risks.