Concept-based teaching and learning across IB programmes (2019)

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Jane Medwell, David Wray, Lucy Bailey, Mary Biddulph, Lesley Hagger-Vaughan, Gary Mills, Mary Oliver and Geoff Wake—School of Education, University of Nottingham

The International Baccalaureate (IB) has been at the forefront of attempts to develop curricula integrating concept-based teaching and learning (CBTL). This study aimed to assess how consistent efforts to encourage CBTL have been. The first phase involved a literature review to identify principles underpinning effective approaches to CBTL and assessment. The study then closely examined the four IB programmes using these principles as an audit tool. Semi-structured interviews were also conducted with 10 IB senior curriculum leaders. The literature review confirmed that CBTL is a relevant approach for contemporary education that aims to facilitate the generation and understanding of ideas, the transfer of knowledge and skills, and a critical or reflective perspective towards knowledge itself. The curriculum audit showed that many of the principles arising from the literature review do fit with IB curriculum documents. There were, however, some gaps where it was difficult to find evidence that these principles informed the IB approach. Looking at the nature of these gaps, it was clear that they mostly involved principles that focus on actual classroom action rather than underpinning curriculum structures.

Research summary (PDF, 284 KB)

Full report (PDF, 3.6 MB)