Here’s Why I Chose The IB Curriculum For My Kids, Says This Mom

As parents, we want the all-rounded development of our children, creation of individuals who possess the knowledge, skills and attitude to survive in the world, and most of all children who are socially and emotionally aware.
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“Imagine if schools actually helped kids identify their strengths by exploring their talents from a young age and growing their skills over the 12 years, instead of letting them all follow the same routine and leaving them confused in life after graduation.”

The above quote defines the face of education in India today.

As all things in life evolve to be able to keep up with the times and ever-changing world, so does education. The sole purpose of education is no longer only academic excellence, but the development of life-long learners. The millennial generation of parents like me are constantly looking for ways to equip our children with the ability and skills they will need to thrive in the real world. I believe that it is never too early to help them spread their wings and it starts with baby steps from their primary years onwards.

The goal of modern education systems is to start preparing students from the time they are in pre-school to tackle anything that is thrown at them out in the real world. To do so, cultivating independence in thinking and learning is key. A combination of academic, social and emotional intelligence is the goal for many schools today.

The emergence of International boards in Indian education: 

Many International boards of education which have paved the way for success for students globally have now taken over the education landscape in India. The Montessori method, IGCSE (International General Certificate of Secondary Education – Cambridge Board) and IB (International Baccalaureate) are some of the most popular methods of education today. These boards are very distinct from the traditional methods used in mainstream schools, with contrasting teaching and learning styles. Parents select schools based on their own experiences, values, beliefs and ambitions for their children. The selection is made based on a combination of the education board, credibility and quality of the school.

What I wanted for my kids:

 

 

  • I was inclined towards a method of education which would help my children become good people; an education which would consider not only their minds but their heart as well.
  • A child can start reading fluently, write full sentences, have an outstanding vocabulary and answer every question asked in class earlier or better than the others, however none of these matter without emotional and social development.
  • Children require certain other skills to be developed parallelly which will enable them to relate to the world around them – kindness, empathy, confidence, team work and so on. I wanted a system that would encourage my children to understand and not memorize.
  • I did not want them to crack under the pressure of exams and grades which would judge and define their level of learning based on educators telling them what and how to think.

The traditional vs modern education debate:

Traditional methods of learning emphasize academic learning of core subjects like Math, Science, English etc. through a teacher- instruction method with every student being pushed towards a certain goal at an identical pace. This left behind those who learn at a slightly different pace but towards the same goal. Modern teaching defines the international boards and focuses more on developing the understanding and application of concepts taught, by encouraging hands-on learning. Individual needs are considered rather than placing every student on the same level of understanding and thinking. They challenge students on a much deeper level and teach them to really use their minds. This was what I wanted for my two boys.

What I found out about the IB Curriculum: 

I remember doing a tremendous amount of research on schools and the International boards when I was pregnant with my elder son Dev who is now almost 5 years old. The IB programme caught my eye and the more I dug into the nitty-gritty of it, the more it resonated with my aspirations for my children. Today, I can confidently say that I believe in IB being the future of education.

The International Baccalaureate (IB board) is an inquiry-led program which focuses on creating the next generation of global leaders, by developing internationally-minded students.

  • The IB program encourages students to take responsibility for their own learning by guiding them to ask the right questions, consider the viewpoints of others around them and reflect on the process of decision making.
  • Students are not told how to think or what to think but guided to develop an understanding of concepts taught and think for themselves, thereby setting a solid foundation for what they will experience outside the classroom walls.
  • Teachers work closely with students as partners and hold their hand throughout their learning journey.

The IB education curriculum comprises of 4 programs – Primary Years Program (PYP), Middle Years Program (MYP), Diploma Program (DP) & Career Program (CP). A framework of skills called The Learner Profiles lies at the heart of the IB program around which all learning is centred. The program aims to develop knowledgeable and caring life-long learners by developing the 10 learner profile attributes – Inquirers, Thinkers, Knowledgeable, Caring, Communicator, Principled, Open-minded, Risk-takers, Balanced & Reflective. While all learning begins at home, it is extended to schools; the vice-versa holds true as well.

The 6 transdisciplinary themes emphasize developing the understanding of concepts in students across each subject area, by exposing them to various aspects of the world around them. Students learn a great deal about themselves as well.  As play is considered the principal driver for learning at the primary level, IB schools approach teaching and learning in exciting and creative ways through 6 transdisciplinary themes. Once students reach middle school, they are given the opportunity to apply the skills and concept taught to the global community via their assignments and projects, across their subject areas. They are guided towards using a gamut of skills like creative and critical thinking, communication, research & self-management skills which help them make a difference in their local community.

What the IB board does NOT do:

  • The IB board does not work according to grades but achievement levels and scales. Students are not bound by the results of written exams.
  • Assessment of skill levels and progress is an ongoing process at IB schools. Apart from teachers assessing students, self-assessment and peer assessment is done across grade levels. Often teachers get assessed by the students as well! This shows that the IB curriculum encourages open and transparent interactions between teachers and students.
  • Students are also assessed through large scale projects and exhibitions which demonstrate their learning. External examinations are administered and IB schools have the option of sending their students. E-assessments are done in later grades, individual to each student’s progress.
  • A crucial point to remember is that every school designs their own curriculum with different approaches to learning and teaching, keeping the IB methodology in mind.

The faculty of a school can determine the effectiveness of the IB program and varies from one school to another. 

We chose the IB board and continue to be firm believers in its ability to create the future leaders of tomorrow. It is a progressive board which provides unlimited opportunities for students to become the best version of themselves and make a difference in the world around them.  As parents, we want the all-rounded development of our children, creation of individuals who possess the knowledge, skills and attitude to survive in the world, and most of all children who are socially and emotionally aware. After all, intelligence plus character is the goal of all education.

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