What is an IB education?
The International Baccalaureate Organisation (known as the IB) offers four high-quality and challenging educational programmes for a worldwide community of schools, aiming 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 organisation works with schools, governments and international organisations 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 aim of all IB programmes is to develop internationally minded people who, recognising their common humanity and shared guardianship of the planet, help to create a better and more peaceful world.
In 1968, the IB Diploma Programme (DP) was established to provide a challenging and comprehensive education that would enable students to understand and manage the complexities of our world and provide them with skills and attitudes for taking responsible action for the future. Such an education was rooted in the belief that people who are equipped to make a more just and peaceful world need an education that crosses disciplinary, cultural, national and geographical boundaries.
With the introduction of the Middle Years Programme (MYP) in 1994 and the Primary Years Programme (PYP) in 1997, the IB identified a continuum of international education for students aged 3 to 19.
A decade later, the adoption of the IB learner profile across the continuum described internationally minded learners of all ages. IB learners strive to be: Inquirers, Knowledgeable, Thinkers, Communicators, Principled, Open-minded, Caring, Risk-takers, Balanced, Reflective. Informed by these values, an IB education centres on learners, develops effective approaches to teaching and learning, works within global contexts and explores significant content. Working together, these four characteristics define an IB education.
The IB encourages students to become active, compassionate, lifelong learners. An IB education is holistic in nature; it is concerned with the whole person. IB programmes emphasise learning how to learn, helping students interact effectively with the learning environments they encounter and encouraging them to value learning as an essential and integral part of their everyday lives.
Teaching and learning in the IB
Through the interplay of asking, doing and thinking, this constructivist approach leads towards open, democratic classrooms. An IB education empowers young people for a lifetime of learning, independently and in collaboration with others. It prepares a community of learners to engage with global challenges through inquiry, action and reflection.
IB programmes feature structured inquiry both into established bodies of knowledge and into complex problems.
Principled action, as both a strategy and an outcome, represents the IB’s commitment to teaching and learning through practical, real-world experience. Action in IB programmes may involve service learning, advocacy and educating self and others.
Critical reflection is the process by which curiosity and experience can lead to deeper understanding.
An IB education fosters creativity and imagination. It offers students opportunities for considering the nature of human thought and for developing the skills and commitments necessary not only to remember, but also to analyse one’s own thinking and effort, as well as the products and performances that grow from them.
Through inquiry, action and reflection, IB programmes aim to develop a range of competencies and dispositions that include skills for thinking, for working with others, for communicating, for managing self and for research.
In IB programmes, assessment is ongoing, varied and integral to the curriculum. Assessment may be formal or informal, formative or summative, internal or external; students also benefit by learning how to assess their own work and the work of others.
IB students demonstrate what they know and can do, through consolidations of learning, culminating with the PYP exhibition, the MYP personal project, the DP extended essay and the IBCC reflective project. Students demonstrate their knowledge, understanding and mastery of skills.
Global contexts for education
IB programmes aim to develop international-mindedness in a global context. New challenges that are not defined by traditional boundaries call for students to develop the agility and imagination they need for living productively in a complex world.
An IB education creates learning communities in which students can increase their understanding of language and culture, which can help them to become more globally engaged.
Teaching and learning in global contexts supports the IB’s mission “to develop inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people who help to create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect”.
Learning to communicate in a variety of ways in more than one language is fundamental to the development of intercultural understanding. IB programmes foster learning how to appreciate critically, many beliefs, values, experiences and ways of knowing. Understanding the world’s rich cultural heritage invites the IB community to explore human commonality, diversity and interconnection.