The Learning Renaissance

The International Baccalaureate: Moving Learning in the Right Direction

I first came across the International Baccalaureate (IB) whilst on secondment to the RSA Academy in the West Midlands.

Having adopted the Opening Minds curriculum at KS3 and KS4, the Academy did not want to regress to a curriculum model based on A level at post 16  study. Consequently they explored the IB and found it to be a good fit with the curriculum experiences the students had at 11-16.

For me, one of the most striking features of the IB was the more explicit way it developed the student as a learner by a concentration on the HOW and the WHY of learning rather than just the WHAT.

Two elements of the structure of the IB curriculum embodied this and took the model light years ahead of the standard A level learning model which made no great demands on the student to consider how or why they were embarking on a course of study, other than to gain a qualification.

The first element was the Theory of Knowledge (TOK) component which had the student explore How to learn with reference to learning theory.

The second element was the declaration above which explored the dimensions of the effective learner that the IB was trying to inculcate, and which would stay with the learner for a lifetime.

By way of contrast, in England, Michael Gove, as Education Secretary, as in much he did, completely devalued the term ‘Baccalaureate’ by applying it to a proscribed assembly of subjects, rather than an operational theory of learning.

International Baccalaureate

About educationalist04

I'm convinced we can, as a species, do much better than this if we set our minds to being much more positive and productive towards our fellow humans. The solution is learning - creating independent and autonomous learners who can problem solve, innovate and create a better more equitable and sustainable world. My books, Future Proof Your School and Re-Examining Success together with this blog, explore how better learning outcomes for all can be achieved.

One comment on “The International Baccalaureate: Moving Learning in the Right Direction

  1. Howard Burton
    April 17, 2019

    I’d like to share a real-world example of the relevance of TOK in today’s research: How can we know when an experiment provides evidence for a specific theory? And what role does experiment play in testing scientific hypotheses?

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