Gone are the days where knowledge was held by an elite minority who had had the benefit of a traditional education and had, as a result, memorised sufficient knowledge to function effectively within their chosen career paths. Today’s student places little credence in this traditional mode of learning because they understand that knowledge is easily accessible to anyone with a mobile phone and a 3G connection.
In the modern world, a successful education will equip learners with skills such as the ability to solve elaborate problems, manage complex interpersonal relationships, create ground-breaking perspectives as well as uphold self-awareness and compassion. It will support young people in the realisation of their unlimited potential, thereby equipping them with invaluable life skills.
The International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme is the pinnacle of this formative educational journey, giving students the opportunity to become part of the worldwide IB community of more than one million students in 146 countries, and affording them an outstanding, unparalleled educational experience.
The IB Diploma Programme is characterised by an academically demanding, internationally focused agenda. The programme offers students a broad, balanced and holistic educational experience because it has been carefully designed by experienced educators over many decades to equip students with the cutting-edge academic skills needed for university study, further education, as well as for their chosen professions.
In addition to the formal academic components, the programme is designed to support students in the development of the values and life skills needed to live a fulfilled and purposeful life. It has been most gratify over the years to witness how positive engagement with the programme has transformed the lives of so many students and teachers. Alumni have consistently expressed their appreciation of the distinct advantage they have enjoyed at university as a result of successful completion of the IB programme.
What is it, therefore, that makes this programme so unique? The IB Diploma Programme is underpinned by its philosophy about the very nature of education, which is expressed in the IB’s mission statement, in the IB learner profile and in the fundamental principles on which the curriculum is based and which continue to inspire its development.
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.
The learner profile is the embodiment of the IB mission statement. It includes ten qualities which define the type of learner the IB aspires to develop through engagement with its programmes. It is intended to provide a focus for reflection on what is most important which is why it is located at the heart of the programme. At The British International School Shanghai, Pudong, the IB Mission Statement and IB Learner profile are very closely aligned to our whole school service agenda, core values and ethical convictions.
The academic programme of study requires students to study six concurrent subjects, one from each of the disciple groups. Each student’s selection must include courses in literature, a second language, a social science, a natural science and mathematics.
Subject offerings allow students to formulate a range of personalised portfolios that are well suited to their interests, abilities and career aspirations. As a holistic educational experience, subjects are delivered under the guidance of our experienced and well-qualified IB practitioners, enabling students to make connections across academic disciplines. The focus moves from memorising subject-specific facts and figures to a reflective engagement with the learning. This enables skills to be transferred across a wide range of academic and learning scenarios.
The three compulsory core components, Theory of Knowledge, Creativity Action and Service and the Extended Essay, are the keystones of the programme, specifically designed to enable students to engage with their learning in a critical, reflective and interconnected manner. The skills that students acquire as a result of diligent commitment with the core will place them at a distinct advantage in further education and real life circumstances.
The TOK experience provides a forum for discussion and instruction that supports the development of interdisciplinary understanding. It is essential that the TOK course relates directly to students’ experiences in the academic disciplines and that the academic disciplines, at appropriate times, refer to TOK issues.
Creativity Action and Service (CAS) in the IB Diploma are an important part of developing compassionate and well informed citizens who become proactively involved in their communities. The CAS programme at The British International School, Pudong, plays a central role in fulfilling our aims of providing all our students with an authentic experiential educational experience in a well supported and caring learning environment. Very often it is the CAS learning experiences such as service trips, musicals, IB Choir, charity and environmental work, as well as the camaraderie of the sports field, that form the most enduring and cherished memories.
Independence of though and taking responsibility for ones own learning are life skills that we instill in our students across all ages and phases. The third element of the IB Diploma, the Extended Essay, affords students with the ultimate experience of academic ownership. The Extended Essay is a miniature thesis and an independent research assignment. Students have to independently design and undertake original research and present their findings in a 4,000-word essay. Each student is provided with an experienced supervisor who supports them through this process.
Through completing the Extended Essay, students learn various metacognitive strategies and acquire vital skills that allow them to monitor and control their own learning. However the greatest value of the Extended Essay is that, on this journey of becoming independent learners, students develop powers of reflection, self-confidence and self-awareness, a willingness to communicate ideas without fear of losing face, and a willingness to take risks and to be open-minded.
Why the IB Diploma?
The International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme is without doubt the most advanced, rigorous and unique opportunity for any aspiring lifelong learner. We are passionate IB practitioners and are fully committed to providing your children with the most well supported and rigorous education experience in Shanghai. We will create the environment for success by carefully tracking progress and intervening as required with appropriate mentoring strategies. Most importantly, however, is that as an IB world school we will teach students how to think and not what to think.