Albert Einstein said, “Education is not the learning of facts, but the training of the mind to think”.
It is this thought which is beautifully imbibed in the International Baccalaureate (IB) program and actuated through its teaching and assessment guidelines making IB the most appropriate and effective education system today.
The curriculum lays focus on the process of learning and teaching along with the assessment of the application of knowledge to unknown situations, which is unlike the system of assessments in the traditional boards. The content is rich, yet practical and is looked upon as the means to an end rather than as an end in itself. Assessments in IB MYP are a test of one’s knowledge, understanding of concepts and ability to apply the learning to real-world situations. IB strongly believes that knowledge becomes learning only when seen in the context of real-world circumstances.
To illustrate, statistics and within it graphical representation of data is a commonly taught topic in most systems of education. However, in the IB MYP, the students connect the theoretical knowledge with the practical application. The students could be typically asked to represent data from different countries facing the COVID pandemic to better understand the level of preparedness. They would be required to justify the type of data representation used by them thus showcasing in-depth understanding of the concept. This task allows the students to hone their skills of evaluation, critical thinking, and logical reasoning.
In today’s dynamic environment, content and data are freely and easily available. However, we need the essential skills of critical thinking and creativity to be able to identify authentic and reliable information and use it creatively to address the challenges we face. The current COVID 19 situation is a case in point. With all social interactions, business communication and constructive collaboration now being done virtually, aspects of education like technology, information, and media literacy have gained much prominence.
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The current situation also calls for students and parents to be open-minded and flexible in their approach to academics. It is these 21st-century skills which the IB pedagogy focuses on, that makes it so relevant and necessary in the world today. The acquisition of these skills enable an IB student to meet unknown and unexpected challenges with aplomb and be future-ready.
Taking responsibility for one’s own growth and learning, is an essential skill for survival today. Approaches to developing this essential quality are interwoven in the teaching and learning principles of IB MYP. Teachers are facilitators who generate interest in different areas and topics of study and guide the students to build on their learning and comprehension through research and self-study using the resources provided and suggested.
Students voice their thoughts, ideas, and opinions during the debates and discussions in class, held under the teacher’s guidance and direction. To give an example, students learn about the civilization and its features through the in-depth study of one example. They are then prompted to research and identify other civilizations from the past. Through discussions and debates, they identify which aspects can be activated to improve current systems.
Overall, one can say that the IB pedagogy aims at molding students into responsible citizens and thought leaders for a better tomorrow.