Jeff Thompson Research Award winners' studies
Heather E. Michael, Columbia University (United States)
The purpose of this study was to learn how students and teachers conceptualize the IB Diploma Programme Core (TOK, CAS and the EE), and how connections are made between these elements. Students were asked to reflect about the Core in relation to the development of identities, using the questions: who am I as an internationally minded thinker in TOK, as a community leader engaging in CAS, and as a researcher doing the EE? Based on stories told, it was found that engagement and interest in the Core significantly improved when students were given the time to connect personal interests with Core elements, and the framework and language to help make connections between themselves, their learning and assessments. In other words, the Core was taught, not tasked. To make this happen, teachers stressed the need for strong leadership, time to plan and teach, and professional development to build on pedagogical skills to make this happen.
Patterns in text authorship and teachers’ diversification efforts: International-mindedness in US-based Diploma Programme English A Literature classes
Sarah Lillo, Southeast Missouri State University (United States)
This study had two aims: to establish demographic patterns in the authorship of texts taught in US-based DP English A Literature courses, and to explore factors that influence teachers’ curricular choices/abilities to diversify their curriculum. Taught text lists from 100 classes and interviews with 20 teachers were analyzed. Findings indicate that most taught texts were authored by white males from either North America or North Europe; very few were authored by individuals from Asia, Oceania, or Africa. Teachers identified the most pressing factors in their text choices as: logistical considerations, their own interests, their students’ interests, aims of expanding students’ worldviews, thematic cohesion, perceived pressure to teach “good” literature, formal DP assessments, and other curricular guidelines provided by another program, the school, the district, or the state. Teachers noted four related obstacles to diversifying syllabi: a relative lack of exposure to works from other parts of the world, the time involved in developing new curriculum materials for less widely taught texts, constraints within the formal DP course guidelines, and gaps in their cultural knowledge. This report argues that additional support is needed to help teachers overcome such gaps and that supports can target particular factors or challenges identified in this study.
The enduring impact of creativity, activity, service in the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme: The alumni study
Shona McIntosh, University of Bath (United Kingdom)
This study examined the lasting influence on International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme (DP) students who had participated in the experience-based core element of creativity, activity, service (CAS). Alumni of the DP from all three IB regions shared their perceptions of CAS through an online survey (n = 903), focus groups (n = 19) and interviews (n = 12). CAS activities were found to have the potential to change how individuals perceived themselves in the world. Engagement, value and support from others were significantly related to lasting outcomes. Activities in which DP students are given the opportunity to engage in important work with others can bring deep and lasting changes to individuals. A CAS project that can affect deep and lasting transformation is characterized as one that supports the development of the students’ sense of social responsibility and a sense of their own potential. It was concluded that such CAS projects have the potential to effect changes that can be lasting and beneficial to the individual as well as the world in which they live.
The development of international-mindedness: An investigation into how International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme core components foster students’ multilingualism, intercultural understanding and global engagement
Akın Metli, Bilkent University (Turkey)
This study investigates how the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (DP) core components—creativity, activity, service (CAS), theory of knowledge (TOK), and extended essay (EE)—foster three pillars of international-mindedness: multilingualism, intercultural understanding and global engagement. It uses mixed methods to explore perceptions of international-mindedness (IM) within two continuum schools in Istanbul, Turkey: a national school and an international school. Using a conceptual framework developed by Singh and Qi (2013), the qualitative phase revealed that CAS supports global engagement, while TOK fosters intercultural understanding and global knowledge. EE provides opportunities for fostering multilingualism, intercultural understanding and global engagement through students’ explorations of linguistic, cross-cultural and global issues. The qualitative analysis indicated that PYP is perceived as an inquiry-based programme that fosters the development of IM through the PYP exhibition, school-wide community service projects and cultural explorations in language classes. MYP is perceived to foster the development of IM through the personal project, approaches to teaching and learning and the discussion of issues of global significance. The quantitative phase of the study showed that in both schools there was no significant difference between students’ pre- and post-levels of intercultural understanding and global engagement after one year spent in DP.
Nicky Dulfer, Amy McKernan and Kimberley Brindle, Melbourne Graduate School of Education, the University of Melbourne
This study examined the way teachers use differentiated instruction in IB Diploma Programme (DP) classrooms in Hong Kong and Australia. A total of 18 teachers took part in the study, which used surveys, classroom observations and interviews as data sources. Using the Tomlinson conceptual framework for differentiation, the study provides examples of content, process, product and environmental differentiation across a range of subjects. The observation instrument, based on a developmental continuum, is a particularly powerful tool that provides teachers with feedback regarding their own differentiation practices and offers ideas for further development. The research found that while teachers are very confident about differentiating through their teaching processes, they are less confident about their ability to differentiate product or content. Additionally, many DP teachers could improve their use of environmental supports, which may assist students in their learning.
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Educating children with autism spectrum disorder within the Primary Years Programme framework: The Latin American perspective
Rebekah Bush, Newton College (Peru)
This study explores the education of young children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) within the framework of the International Baccalaureate (IB) Primary Years Programme (PYP). A mixed methods approach was used, including a literature review, teacher interviews, and classroom observations involving 42 educators across eight IB schools in five Latin American countries. The researcher concluded that due to the extensive range of teaching styles and strategies which may be implemented within the context of the PYP, this model can support the education of young children with autism. The potential barriers related to educating this population of students are largely unrelated to the PYP framework. Furthermore, it was found that despite teachers’ perceptions that they lack autism-specific professional development and sufficient knowledge of practical strategies for teaching children with ASD, the majority of teachers had very positive attitudes towards educating students with ASD within the PYP framework. The findings from this small-scale study suggest that further support for teachers of children with ASD—including, professional development related to autism-specific strategies, a coaching model during the implementation phase of classroom interventions, and increased opportunities for collaboration—would increase teacher confidence and competence, and support the optimal development of children with ASD within PYP settings.
Contextual interpretations of international mindedness in International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme students
Avis E. Beek, Czech Republic
The purpose of this study was to examine contextual interpretations of international mindedness by International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme (DP) students in a national school and an international school in the Czech Republic. The conceptual framework was based on Wilber’s (2006) comprehensive integral theory, a novel application in the study of international mindedness. Through integral methodological pluralism, a form of mixed methods research, quantitative and qualitative data was collected and analyzed. Using an empirical methodology, the Global Perspectives Inventory (Braskamp, Braskamp & Engberg, 2014) was administered to DP students. Descriptive statistical analysis of the results revealed no significant difference between participants from the two schools. Using a hermeneutic phenomenological methodology, interviews were conducted with DP students and DP teachers. Findings revealed the experience of international mindedness can be characterized by the development of an intercultural identity, the ability to take alternate perspectives and the capacity to resolve disconnection from important people in their lives. Contextual factors of privilege and exposure to diversity also characterized students’ experience of international mindedness. Implications for improving education for international mindedness at the level of the school and the IB organization were discussed.
Virtual environments for learning Mathematics: Analysis of a suggested model for using technologies in the teaching of Geometry for the IB Middle Years Programme (MYP)
Marisel Rocío Beteta Salas, Colegio Hiram Bingham (Peru)
The research analyzes a suggested model for teaching geometry which incorporates virtual resources, integrating Van Hiele's theory of geometry teaching, as suggested for the teaching of mathematics within the Middle Years Programme (MYP). This includes the TPACK model, which integrates disciplinary knowledge of pedagogy and disciplinary knowledge of technology with pedagogical knowledge of technology. The validation of this model is based on didactic engineering, which is the methodology used in the field of Mathematics education research.
Seeking the forest for the trees: The Primary Years Programme exhibition and global citizenship education
Nicholas Palmer, The International School of Azerbaijan
The purpose of this research was to determine the depth and scope of Global Citizenship Education through the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme exhibition. The small-scale qualitative study describes how a fifth-grade cohort and teachers at the International School of Azerbaijan uncover Global Citizenship Education in situ. Drawing on recent Global Citizenship Education literature, including Irene Davy’s (2011) International Baccalaureate position paper and UNESCO’s (2015) Global Citizenship: Education Topics and Learning Objectives, the study seeks to align current theory on Global Citizenship Education and the implementation, inquiry and reflective components of the exhibition. The research is underpinned by communicative action and reflection (Habermas, 1984), denoting a critical stance on epistemology. The results, it is argued, frame authentication, co-creation and substantiation as key enabling Global Citizenship Education features of the exhibition. As the presented framework is based on practice, the key assertions are applicable to schools seeking to enliven contextual modes of global learning.
What does it mean to ‘take action’ in the PYP exhibition? An inquiry into the experiences of three Latin American schools
Pamela Curtin, Colegio Roosevelt, The American School of Lima (Peru)
This study explores understandings of ‘action’ as well as pedagogical processes leading to action, the implications of taking action and the impact of student action as part of the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme (PYP) Exhibition in three IB schools in Latin America. These actions are examined in terms of action as service and action as a means for student self-actualisation, as students apply what they have learnt through research. Two waves of data were collected to provide initial insights into students’ perspectives at the time of the Exhibition through online surveys (N=102) and subsequent follow-up with students, teachers, mentors and administrators through onsite interviews and focus groups (N=128), offering opportunities for reflection through retrospection and identification of potential enduring understandings. The main issues that emerged reflect the different pedagogical and philosophical approaches and the Exhibition structure in each school. Some systems and interactions promoted student empowerment and active citizenship while others constrained students’ levels of participation. Overall the majority of students felt they were able to take action with varying degrees of success, and findings suggest that the Exhibition research, as well as the action taken, have the potential to impact others.
Gregory S. Brunton, Western International School of Shanghai (China)
The effectiveness of Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) depends on the ability of educators to collaborate. At many international schools, teachers are recruited from various countries, bringing diversity to the school’s teaching teams. This qualitative collective case study examined how teachers with diverse backgrounds overcome the normal and intensified challenges to collaboration encountered in what I call an intercultural PLC context, comprised of teachers of different nationalities and cultural backgrounds, educational and teaching experiences, and proficiencies with English at a private, international school in China. Multiple data collection methods were used in order to gain an understanding of the challenges to collaboration these teachers face, and the conditions that foster or hinder collaboration in this context. The findings of this study suggest that though there were advantages and disadvantages to working collaboratively, and there were successes and challenges with communication, this intercultural PLC provided many opportunities for teachers to learn. Collaborating meant sharing responsibilities while working through the difficulties experienced working with colleagues who held opposing culturally-based attitudes and beliefs. The provision of dedicated time for collaborative meetings had the greatest impact on supporting collaboration.
Rohan Skene, Bavarian International School (Germany)
This study explores the significance of student voice in two international curricula, the International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) and the International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme (MYP). Framed within a social realist epistemology and employing individual and focus group interviews to gather teacher and student perspectives, this work is ‘in the style’ of a grounded research approach, underpinned by established work on student participation and wider concepts of curriculum and curriculum design. Three European international schools are included in this study, each one distinctly offering a linear, constructivist or mixed approach to delivering the IGCSE or MYP international middle year’s curriculums. The emergent research perspectives suggest that a constructivist approach to curricular design, as represented by the MYP, may positively promote student voice due to its less prescribed nature. The study also finds that the encouragement of ‘teacher voice’ through an understanding and negotiation of the overt power imbalances inherent in schools will assist in the establishment and sustainability of teacher-student learning collaborations. This study advances the notion that student voice conversations need to be pedagogical rather than content-based in order to successfully support learning.
María Luisa Lagos Ramírez CIEDI - Colegio Internacional de Educación Integral (Colombia)
Given the importance of enhancing the acquisition and development of discursive argumentation activity in orality and literacy from the early years of schooling, in this paper we propose some theoretical and pedagogical considerations aimed at encouraging the teaching of argumentation from a reflective and progressive perspective of discursive argumentation practices. The proposal explores four dimensions of language that support the selection of argumentative genres for teaching and learning content and their organization into didactic sequences. This approach draws on an analytical review of discursive argumentation activity in the transdisciplinary fields that the PYP seeks to develop.
Dan Keller, The World View Project
This study investigates the perspectives of international education held by stakeholders of international schools. The extent to which stakeholders valued international education was sought and how well the implementation of education matched their expectations was examined. A mixed-methods sequential study examined stakeholder values and perceptions, using a cross-sectional survey, and related them to demographic and contextual factors. The survey data were subjected to descriptive and inferential statistical analysis. The qualitative phase used three different cross-section methods: survey comments, focus group interviews, and personal interviews. 483 parent and staff stakeholders of international schools, part of a corporate for-profit network in the United Arab Emirates, responded to the survey. Results showed that international education was highly valued by the respondents, with significant differences related to the factors of school, primary language, educational attainment and role in school (staff or parent). Stakeholders perceived international education was implemented less well, with significant differences related to the factors of school, number of international schools experienced and role in school.
Joanne Walker, France
The development of international mindedness is an explicit aim of the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP) and is described as a list of attributes in the IB Learner Profile. This qualitative case study used a questionnaire with thirty alumni from one international school situated in France and a smaller number of follow up interviews to elicit retrospective views about the IBDP experience. It investigates whether past IBDP students display the attitudes and dispositions related to the IB construct of international mindedness and whether this has been manifest in their post school trajectories. The most significant results showed that this group of alumni almost unanimously perceived the IBDP as having been influential in the development of international mindedness. This study also endorsed findings from previous studies that IBDP influence tends to be valued somewhat later in career development. Overall the study underlines the difficulty of separating the multiplicity of influences in the development of values and attitudes. Teachers themselves emerged as one of the most influential aspects of the IBDP experience which therefore carries a clear implication for both staff recruitment and new staff induction. There are also implications for the IBO in considering ways to heighten awareness of the IB mission and to assess its efficacy.
Stirling Perry, Özel Bilkent Lisesi (Turkey)
The Creativity, Action, Service (CAS) program is a required experiential learning element of the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (DP) curriculum. This study examined the ways in which reflection within the CAS component was implemented at six DP schools in Turkey. Using a multi-case study, data was collected and analyzed through document analysis of sample reflections from students as well as from interviews and focus groups with students, teachers and administrators. The findings show that schools relied on varied forms of reflection, with some examples of authentic reflection, such as periodic essays or verbal interactions between advisors/teachers and students. Recommendations based on this research include improving the pre-reflection process, integrating more authentic timing for reflections, using a variety of means for reflections, clarifying the importance of reflections with students, giving students more regular feedback and closing out the CAS program with greater emphasis on post-reflection.
The applicability and impact of using the IB learner profiles as a framework for discussing bulling in the MYP: Lessons from a practice-based research project
Michael Lynch, Bladins International School of Malmö (Sweden)
The aim of this paper is to present the results of a small-scale research project conducted in a Swedish IB International School with Middle Years Programme (MYP) students. This research used an experimental design to examine the applicability and impact of using the IB’s Learner Profile (LP) as a structure for modulating a program on discussing and preventing bullying in the MYP. The applicability and impact were measured using a mixed-method approach that reflected the views of the students and the teachers involved. The paper will first present the rationale and background to the study, including the research questions. It will then give an overview of the literature associated with bullying prevention and the IB philosophy. The next section will explain the process of putting the modules together, followed by a presentation of the methods and methodology used to gather the data in this research. It will then move on to an analysis of the data and finally identify the lessons learned in terms of applying the LP as a framework for discussing bullying.
Myriam Monopoli, St. Catherine’s Moorlands (Argentina)
This study uses qualitative and quantitative research methods to explore teaching practices with regard to teaching reading comprehension development in the English B lessons from eighteen out of the twenty-three schools where English B is taught in Buenos Aires and Gran Buenos Aires. The findings indicate that English B lessons are organized around a clear three-reading-stage lesson framework (pre-, while-, and post-reading stages), with activities that attempt to reflect an interactive theoretical model of reading comprehension. The data collected shows evidence that efforts should be made to bring research knowledge into the teaching practice field, as global discourse reading strategies and metacognitive reading tasks do not seem to play a significant role in this framework. However, an integration of macro linguistic skills, which aim at developing a socio-cultural communicative competence in the learners within a collaborative approach, is included in the post-reading stage of the teachers’ lesson plans.
A study of the perceptions of International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme teachers on factors influencing their development as Primary Years Programme educators
Samantha Cook, International School of Tanganyika (Tanzania)
The purpose of this research project was to investigate which professional development opportunities teachers working with the International Baccalaureate’s (IB) Primary Years Programme (PYP) found most influential, and to what extent their views and practices had changed over time. The project used an online survey to gather quantitative and qualitative data from PYP educators worldwide about which professional development opportunities had made the greatest impact on them, as well as the extent to which their perceptions of the programme, and their teaching practices, had changed over time. Two focus groups from contrasting schools in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, shared their views on how the IB, the school, and the individual could enhance and support the professional development of PYP educators. Findings indicated that educators find the PYP complex and challenging to work with, and that it requires significant changes in practice. Respondents indicated that while formal professional development opportunities such as workshops and conferences had benefits, by far the most influential factors on teachers’ development were collaboration with their colleagues and ‘learning on the job’. Implications include how the IB can best promote and support effective in-school professional development, and the need for schools to consider how best to actively provide a supportive, on-going, collaborative work culture to support the development of PYP teachers.
Joanne Eileen Chatlos, Alcuin School (Texas, USA)
In this qualitative case study, this researcher seeks to explore what Middle Years Programme (MYP) teachers believe about the IB learner profile traits and how their beliefs translate into practice. The case is defined as five middle school teachers in one private middle school in Dallas, Texas, implementing the Middle Years Programme in the spring of 2014. Data collection included observations, interviews, and the analysis of word clouds created by the participants. In this inquiry, teachers seemed to prioritize certain terms, both in beliefs and practice. For terms which they feel comfortable with, they are more likely to use explicit strategies, while other terms are often believed to be transmitted through more implicit methods such as modeling. The findings suggest that more research into teachers’ beliefs about the terms and their use of the IB learner profile in practice would be advisable. This researcher suggests exploration of how teachers work with the terms according to their disciplines and analysis of methods to determine which are most effective in transmitting the IB learner profile. In addition, schools and teachers would benefit from more guidance from the IB regarding the personalization and localization of the learner profile.
Sean Gibb, The British International School of Stavanger (Norway)
The purpose of this study was to investigate key strategies for coordinators implementing the Middle Years Programme (MYP) in smaller international schools. The study used four exploratory interviews and one case study to gain insight into the experiences of MYP coordinators working in international schools of 100 students or less in Norway. The qualitative data suggests that MYP coordination can be very challenging in smaller international schools, due to limited physical and human resources. The key findings provide evidence for the importance of creating opportunities for professional development and facilitating regular collaborative planning and reflection time, as key implementation priorities in these settings. The results also highlight successful implementation strategies as those which contribute to forming and strengthening the identity of the school. These results have important implications for heads and MYP coordinators of smaller international schools, as well as those implementing the Middle Years Programme for the first time; for budgeting and prioritizing opportunities for teacher professional development; timetabling and facilitating ample regular collaborative planning and reflection time; and considering ‘identity forming’ strategies as key implementation priorities.
Brendan Kean, Canadian International School of Hong Kong (Hong Kong)
The aim of this research was to identify and implement key formative assessment strategies that will improve students’ learning within the Primary Years Programme (PYP). This was achieved through action research on developing and implementing formative assessment strategies in a PYP school in Hong Kong. The research also used an in-depth case study approach on a well-known PYP school in Australia to identify the key formative assessment strategies implemented across the whole school. The research questions explored different formative assessment strategies, including stating the learning intention, developing success criteria, teacher questioning and feedback and self- and peer-assessment. The key themes identified in this research build upon the work of Black and Wiliam’s (1998b) meta-analysis of formative assessment and Clarke (2008, 2005 & 2001) and Glasson’s (2009) practical approach to assessment strategies that improve student learning. The study suggested what these findings might mean for educators and the IB in their approaches to formative assessment. The study also established a link between the different formative assessment strategies, and created a ‘framework’ for how teachers could connect the assessment strategies to ensure that learning, teaching and assessing are interwoven in the classroom.
The perception and practice of Creativity, Action, Service (CAS) in the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme for students, teachers and schools
Tom Brodie, Skagerak International School (Norway)
This study investigated students, school and staff perceptions of the CAS programme being offered in ten schools across Europe. School types varied and represented different Diploma Programme school styles, including public and private schools, boarding and day schools. Investigations were undertaken via questionnaire (n=241), structured interview (n=20) and structured focus group (n=15). The study suggested that students and teachers alike valued CAS. CAS was identified as being compartmentalized into the job or role of a particular individual, the CAS coordinator. CAS coordinators felt they lacked time (70%), guidance and were isolated. Pupils enjoyed CAS activities (78%) and the CAS outcomes were challenging but appropriate. Reflection was highlighted as a concern for both pupils (38%) and staff (40%). Staff would like to develop it but were unsure how to do so. Students disliked it and felt very negatively towards it. Therefore, the stated goal of reflection [CAS Guide, IBO (2008)] was failing to be appreciated or developed. The study offers recommendations for schools and coordinators on ways to develop the CAS programme so that it better meets the needs of schools and students as well as the goals of the Diploma Programme.
Dilemmas and challenges in IB Middle Years Programme (MYP) implementation: A case study of Swedish MYP schools and the impact of Swedish school laws
Jayson Williams, International School of the Gothenburg Region (Sweden)
This study provides an exploration into the dilemmas and challenges experienced when implementing and developing the IB Middle Years Programme within schools. It examines two schools within the Swedish school system: one an international school in name, classified as a public school, and the other a ‘friskola’ or an independent school. This paper discusses commonalities between new cases and the cases being studied, with further discussion regarding Swedish educational laws and the impact on the implementation of the MYP. The study raised a number of key considerations including an urgent need for a review of the categorization of Swedish schools. Inconsistent categorization has led to the questioning of Swedish schools’ public data and its reliability.
The impact of U.S. educational policy on the implementation of the IB Primary Years Programme: A case study of an urban, low-income public School
Heather E. Mills, Ph.D. (California, USA)
There is a fundamental gap in the requirements of the U.S. mandate of No Child Left Behind (NCLB) and the philosophical tenets of the International Baccalaureate Programme. The purpose of this qualitative case study was to collaborate with veteran teachers in an urban, high-minority, low-income public school to study how they navigate the challenges of NCLB requirements while teaching in an authorized International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme (IB PYP). Teachers in this situation faced a complex set of conflicting requirements and mandates that often diametrically opposed one another. This study investigated the processes involved in meeting these requirements within the context and atmosphere of educational accountability. Utilizing culturally responsive methodologies, the five participating teachers were involved in all aspects of the study, including the design, research questions, and analysis. The co-construction of the study served to disrupt the traditional power imbalance between the researcher and participants by recognizing teachers as experts in the field of education and assuming a stance of humility on the part of the researcher. A grounded theory analysis yielded two main themes that captured the essence of the participants’ experiences. These themes aided in the development of a conceptual framework illustrating instances of conformity (active and reactive) and resistance (unquestioned and compromised) enacted by teachers in order to adapt to competing paradigms.
Ellen Manson, Canadian International School (Hong Kong)
This action research reports on the introduction of journaling in mathematics with a cohort of year 6 students (10-year and 11-year olds) engaged in their final year of the Primary Years Programme (PYP), within a large International Baccalaureate (IB) World School in Hong Kong. The project, carried out during the 2011-2012 academic year, sought to respond to the question: Does journal writing in mathematics support students to articulate their thinking and develop their conceptual understandings, while also serving to better inform teachers in order to guide planning? Data was collected at the beginning, midpoint and end of the study from both participating teachers and a sample of participating students. This was accomplished through informal group discussions in response to open questions posed by the researcher. Samples of student journals were also collected throughout the study for analysis. While the research findings were generally very positive, some points to note include: students for whom English was a second language found writing in mathematics challenging, while some other more mathematically able students just wanted to “get on with the math” and viewed journaling as holding them up. In summary, the rationale for introducing journaling as an aspect of a mathematics programme is strong. All participating teachers agreed that challenging students to better articulate their thinking and conceptual understandings in mathematics, as documented in the PYP Mathematics scope and sequence, not only develops metacognitive skills but also leads to opportunities for further inquiry, an important aspect of the Primary Years Programme philosophy.
Evaluation of learner profile attributes and competencies in South Australian International Baccalaureate (IB MYP) Students
Jane Jarvis et al., Flinders University (Adelaide, Australia)
This study explores the extent to which students participating in the IB programme in target South Australian schools demonstrated the characteristics articulated in the IB learner profile (LP) and the skills reflected in the approaches to learning (ATL) component of the IB curriculum framework. Three studies were implemented. The first (1) and second (2) studies compared students with and without prior IB experience on characteristics described in the learner profile and approaches to learning component in both mathematics and humanities. The third study (3) examined how students conceptualized, planned and reflected on their MYP personal project. The schools and University agreed that four elements of the LP should be the primary focus of the research inquiry: (a) open-minded (b) thinkers (c) reflective and (d) inquirers. In the first and second studies, year 8 students in the target schools were given problems in mathematics and humanities and were observed in “think aloud” exercises recorded verbatim by the researchers. Comparison of the groups of students with previous IB experience and those new to the IB did not reveal a consistent difference in level of problem solving action in the mathematics findings. The second study resulted in similar findings for the humanities exercise. In relation to the personal project analyses, the researchers found that year 9 and 10 students did demonstrate elements of inquiry, reflection, thinking and openness reflective of the learner profile and approaches to learning framework.
Distributed Leadership and Social Networks in the School-Based Development of the International Baccalaureate’s Middle Years Programme in a Venezuelan K-12
Jose Bolivar, Instituto Educacional Juan XXIII (Valencia, Venezuela)
Deep analysis of the collective work of teachers and school administrators as they develop innovative programs, such as the International Baccalaureate’s Middle Years Programme (MYP), is essential to build models for 21st century education. Two theoretical frameworks, distributed leadership and social networks, have emerged in the educational research literature that present school leadership for change and innovation in terms of actions and emphasize the importance of social interactions for their enactment. This study draws upon these theories to describe and understand leadership in action during the school-based design and implementation of the MYP as well as the social networks underlying their enactment. In terms of practice, the study highlights several findings key to the successful development of the MYP: (1) the importance of coherence-building, collaborative design tasks for a systemic instructional vision, (2) the critical role of teacher support tasks in providing key resources for the successful enactment of design tasks, (3) the promotion of certain school-level and team-level conditions that support collaborative processes, and (4) the existence of certain school-level and team-level conditions that constrain teacher collaboration. The study shows that when schools undertake major changes special attention needs to be given to the multiple tasks that will need to be accomplished to achieve these initiatives. Findings indicate that these tasks require unique, varied, and fluid social network configurations that channel collaborative processes and that they are shaped by contextual factors that impact collaboration and communication flow.
The Impact on Students of Programs Such as the PYP Indigenous Bunuba/Walmajarri Unit of Inquiry Within the Transdisciplinary Theme ‘How Do We Express Ourselves’ and With the Central Idea of ‘We Discover More When We Reflect Upon Other Ways of Knowing’
Annette Rome & Kim Anderson, Wesley College Institute for Innovation in Education (Melbourne, Australia)
This project investigated the impact on students of programs such as the Primary Years Programme (PYP) Indigenous Bunuba/Walmajarri Unit of Inquiry within the trans-disciplinary theme ‘How we express ourselves’ and with the central idea of ‘we discover more when we reflect upon other ways of knowing’ through the Research Question: How effective are programs such as the Wesley College Year 4 PYP Bunuba/Walmajarri unit in terms of changing understandings of Indigenous ways of knowing by non-Indigenous students? The methodology included a survey administered to the students as part of regular feedback gleaned on the unit, along with analyses of reflective 2007- 2010 reports. The findings indicated that as a result of this unit students: know there is a difference between non-Indigenous knowledge and Indigenous knowledge; really enjoyed getting to know (Indigenous Leader) Annette Kogolo; think their understanding of Indigenous people has improved after doing this unit of inquiry; felt their learning about indigenous ways was better because of Annette Kogolo; understand more about Indigenous ways of knowing; felt having a Bunuba/Walmajarri Leader made their learning about Indigenous people more real; know where to find information about indigenous ways of knowing that they did not know before; and think that they now know more about their own culture by learning about Indigenous culture. The research uncovered that there are two important aspects to this unit: the power of the story teller as well as the story itself. The stories are considered a valid form of accessing significant, if specialised, knowledge. The research also indicated that students developed in relation to the IB PYP Student Learner Profile, especially regarding the open-minded and caring attributes. The metric used to determine responses was considered an effective one in terms of assessing impact of unit in relation to developing cross cultural awareness.
A Tale of Two Cities: Chinese teachers vs. Western Teachers on Pedagogic Behaviours in an IB World School in China
Yue Zhang, Guangdong Country Garden School (China)
The purpose of this study is to investigate any differences existing in pedagogic behaviours between Chinese teachers (CTs) and non-Chinese teachers (NCTs) in and outside the English and Science (English-medium) classrooms in an International Baccalaureate (IB) context in mainland China. It also explored potential cultural influences, students’ perspectives and issues arising from any differences in pedagogic behaviours. It provided an in-depth and systematic interpretation of the reasons that cause the differences with the aim of contribution to an amelioration of the co-constructed pedagogy. The study adopted a comparative approach and employed qualitative methods of observation, teacher-researcher diary, individual interviews, focus group, narrative inquiry and document review to obtain data from a case study school in China. The findings indicate that firstly there were differences in pedagogic behaviours according to the key factors of: lesson timing, lesson structure, activities, students’ participation, management, differentiation, assessment, language, materials and information and communication technology. Differences also existed in communication and teacher-student-relationships outside of the classrooms. Secondly, the pedagogic behaviours were influenced by culture. Thirdly all differences were partly attributable to cultural influences. Fourthly, certain issues arose from the differences, such as misunderstandings and mistrust between NCTs and CTs and students. Finally, students on one hand welcomed the differences for they were inspired by the differences which they also considered as a good preparation for their further study overseas; on the other hand, they believed that there should be an international standard of IB approach.
Perspectives of Criteria Based Assessment in the International Baccalaureate’s Middle Years Programme
Chad Carlson, Colegio Internacional de Educación Integral (Colombia)
This study examined how the implementation of IB’s Middle Years Programme criteria referenced assessment model has affected the overall understanding, articulation and achievement of program learning objectives in two MYP schools. The goal was to explore perspectives in the implementation of the MYP’s assessment model in order to better understand the challenges, difficulties and successes that educators face in its implementation. Research surveys and interviews were designed to explore the dynamics of the MYP’s criteria-related assessment model and to learn if students were more actively engaged in the assessment process when criteria based assessment was effectively articulated. The research for this study was conducted with a wide-range of students and teachers from the two schools, involving participants in each year of the programme. Overall the research found that the implementation of the MYP’s criteria-referenced grading system remains to be highly subjective and that many students lack authentic understanding of program learning objectives and the value of this information. However the research showed a positive relationship between the effective articulation and understanding of learning objectives and the development of metacognitive processes and skills in reflection, leading the researcher to conclude that in order to effectively articulate learning objectives and develop student skills and processes in metacognition and reflection, student engagement in the assessment process must be seen as part of the taught curriculum.
Language Teaching Strategies and Techniques Used to Support Students Learning in a Language other than Their Mother Tounge
Natascha Thomson, Kongsberg International School (Norway)
Many learners are facing the challenge of accessing an IB programme in a language other than their mother tongue. To enable learners to fully participate in both the academic and social aspects of school life, educators need to recognise how this phenomenon impacts on teaching and learning and identify ways to support language development. This executive summary aims to raise awareness of this issue and describes and presents the findings of an investigation into the Language Teaching Strategies and Techniques used by Primary Year Practitioners (PYP) when implementing the Programme of Inquiry conducted in 2010.
Is the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme Effective at Delivering the International Baccalaureate Mission Statement?
Richard Lineham, St. George's School in Switzerland (Switzerland)
The International Baccalaureate (IB) aims to develop students who contribute to a more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect. The aim of this study is to examine if the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP) is effective at delivering the IB mission statement? Literature is reviewed to explore the aims of international education and how curricula and school systems can influence the development of values within students. Within the review concepts are explored and compared to the IBDP. The literature review concludes with a model reflecting the influences on the promotion of international education within a school. A case study is carried out in an international school that delivers the IBDP. A mixed methods study with an exploratory sequential design approach is used. A small number of IBDP students are interviewed, and the findings of these interviews are triangulated using a questionnaire completed by most diploma programme students, in the case study school. The results of the student interviews and questionnaires are used to ascertain how the IBDP has influenced student attitudes. The study concludes that the values of the students are moving towards those expressed in the International Baccalaureate mission statement. The significance of different elements of the school curriculum and the school environment on the development of values within the student population is highlighted as an area of further research.
The perceptions of the use of inquiry based methods in the Chinese language classroom in IBO Primary Years Programme schools in the Asia Pacific region
Mary van der Heijden, United World College (Singapore)
This research project investigated how the pedagogical approach of inquiry was transferred into Chinese as an additional language classrooms in Primary Years Programme schools in the Asia Pacific region. The goal was to explore perceptions and practices of Chinese language teachers to better understand the successes and challenges of using inquiry based approaches. Data was collected using mixed methods; including a survey to ninety-eight schools, individual semi-structured interviews with six teachers and classroom observations for four of those teachers. There was evidence from the findings that teachers demonstrated a positive attitude towards the inquiry approach, but the understanding of how this could be transferred into the Chinese classroom was not consistent. The need to train the Chinese language teachers and to develop an opportunity to learn, both with and from other teachers in the school, was also identified. Attempts were made towards the creation of authentic situations where language could be developed and opportunities for more exploration and experimentation rather than relying on accuracy with vocabulary and grammatical structures, but this was not consistently underpinning the pedagogy.