A study of “reflection” in the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (2016)

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Jacqueline Stillisano, Kim Wright, Anna Boriack, Tracey Hodges, Sunni Sonnenburg, Sandra Metoyer, Kayla Rollins and Hersh Waxman—Education Research Center, Texas A&M University

The purpose of this study was to examine the implementation of the “reflective” attribute of the IB learner profile by exploring how reflection is interpreted, integrated into instruction and assessed, and how it benefits Diploma Programme (DP) students. The research team employed a four-stage, mixed-methods research design for this study. Quantitative and qualitative data were collected from surveys of DP teachers and administrators in 31 schools across the United States (US) and Canada, as well as interviews with teachers and administrators, surveys of DP students and classroom observations of DP classes at six case-study sites. DP teachers and administrators tended to interpret “reflection” in three ways: as a tool for academic growth, personal growth and/or metacognition. Respondents identified a number of strategies for incorporating reflection into the curriculum, including collaborative learning, class discussion, critical writing and student self-evaluation. Lastly, despite the challenges of encouraging students to be reflective thinkers, teachers and administrators agreed that “reflective” was “one of the most important attributes” for the academic and social development of their DP students.

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