It is true that in more than 4000 schools in 140 countries you will find the IB curriculum (Bunnell 61-72; Doherty 73-89: Peterson). The Primary Year Program (PYP) is designed for students between three and twelve years of age. While this program prepares students for the mid-year IB programme, it is not compulsory that a student have taken the program prior to taking the mid-year programme. PYP has many fields, including: social studies, language, art, technology, mathematics, personal, social, physical and scientific education. In this program, students are required to learn a second language. The teachers carry out the assessment, however, they do so in accordance with the guidelines given to them by the IB, as well as, the guidelines of the existing curriculum model. The main purpose of the IB program is to help develop caring, knowledgeable, and inquiring young people who will foster the development of a peaceful world through respect and intercultural understanding (Gehring 19; Hallinger, Philip, Allan, and Moosung). It is because of this purpose that the IB does its best to work with different schools, governments, and communities to develop international programs that will facilitate the holistic development of children through a rigorous assessment. It can be acknowledged that students across the world that have participated in this program are more compassionate, active, and understand others with whichever differences they have more than the students that have not participated in the program (Shaunessy, Elizabeth, et al. 76-89; Tarc). This paper is a reflective narrative describing the knowledge and skills that were acquired as a result of an IB field-based project, coursework and other related field-work activities.
Intercultural understanding and Multilingualism
Learning how to communicate in a variety of ways and this includes in different languages is one of the aims of the IB program. It is therefore important to state that the PYP program at this institution has supported dynamic learning through a vast range of forms expression. It can be acknowledged that all the IB programs expect students to learn a different language (Taylor, Mary, and Marion 149-158), thus, the teachers at this institution encouraged the students to recognize, as well as, reflect on their own perspectives and those of others (Hayden, Mary, and Cynthia 349-361: Hertberg, Holly, and Carolyn 199-216). By being taught about different cultures, the students got to learn how to value and respect the beliefs, knowledge, and the ways of knowing that make up the lives of others. It is important to note that the community field-works organized by the institution not only involved the members of the community into the IB program, but helped the students understand the rich cultural heritage of the world as the students through the help of the teachers, as well as, the other members of the community and that includes their parents got to explore diversity, human commonality, and interconnections.
IB programs encourage students, as well as, teachers to increase the global engagement. At this institution, the teachers have taken it upon themselves to improve their global involvement and in the process they have encouraged a majority of the students to do so and this is mainly because global engagement reflects upon an individual’s willingness to address some of the greatest challenges of humanity both in and out of the classroom. Some of the areas of global engagement students have been encouraged to venture in include; conflict, development, environment, cooperation and governance, as well as, the human rights (Wells 174-188). With this particular skill, both the students and the teachers will be able to consider that privilege and power is within their grasp and that they are the ones that hold the earth, as well as, its resources for the future generations. There are other skills gained in the IB program build upon the skill of global engagement as they facilitate the development of awareness, commitments, and perspectives needed for the global engagement.
Working together to make sense of the world
This is one of the major skills learned in all of the IB programs. Learning to work together involves the interplay of a lot of things, for example, thinking, asking, and doing (Kyburg, Robin, Holly, and Carolyn 172-215; Poelzer, Harold, and John 168-171). It is this open approach that leads to the development of open and democratic classroom and fieldwork activities. This skill empowers students for a lifetime of working independently, as well as, with others effectively to be able to engage the global challenges through reflection, inquiry, and action.
The IB program at the institution has helped the students grasp the skill of reflection which will help them grasp a deeper understanding of things. Driven by both curiosity and experience, the students who are now reflective thinkers become fully aware of their methods, evidences, as well as, conclusions (Hill; Resnik 248-269). This skill also allows them to become conscious of any types of biasness or inaccuracy in their work, as well as, in the works of others. Through reflection, the students get to understand the nature of human thought through imagination and creativity.
Both the students and the teachers get to understand that inquiry forms the basis of any written and taught curriculum in the IB programs. The program offered in the institution featured the application of inquiry for both complex questions and established bodies of knowledge (Hill 25-37). This approach has helped the students grasp the basis of any new forms of learning they come across through the establishment of curiosity which is the highest provocation for learning.
The IB program has given the teachers at this institution, as well as, a majority of the students a commitment to learning and teaching on the basis of real-life experiences. This is done at the institution, at the student’s homes, as well as, in the organized community field-work activities. Action can simply be described as learning while doing and these improve the students’ learning about others and self (Lee, Moosung, Philip, and Allan 664-698: Nugent, Stephanie, and Frances 30-39). The actions that got valued a lot throughout the IB program were those that expressed concerns about honesty, integrity, and fairness, thus, showing respect for others and their opinions. The students grasped the concept of principled action, hence, they now have the capability to make responsible choices and this most of the time may include making the decision not to act. By being helped by the teachers to explore the challenges that are personal and global, the students get to learn how to engage in principled action.
The IB program has been adopted in a lot of schools in many parts of the world because of the world because of its significances. Some of them include the skills that the program not only helps the students to acquire but also the teachers and the community at large. The reflective narrative above exhibits the skills acquired by the students in the IB program of this institution.
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