The International Baccalaureate (IB) has four main programs targeting students in the different levels of education. Although these programs are related, each has elements that are unique to the students at each stage. The different stages explore transdisciplinary themes that have a global significance. It is important to know what an international school IB program consists of before making a choice on which school to enroll your child into.
The primary years’ program
In this level of education, the program includes six elements; who we are, how we express ourselves, where we are (place and time), sharing the planet, how we organize ourselves, and how the world works. The age of the students is critical, and therefore the program in this stage has been structured as it is. Children in primary school are quite inquisitive.
They are interested in understanding their surroundings, the behavior of other living things, and the impact the environment has on human behavior. At this age, children are great listeners, absorb information intensely, think critically, and are quite creative. This program includes all personalities of children at this stage to help shape their thinking while allowing them to be independent thinkers and explorers.
Middle Years Program
This program further explores what the students learned during the formative years. The difference is in the information passed on to the students, and the level of thinking required is deeper. Instead of just focusing on the environment in which the students live, this program looks at global contexts. Some of the elements included in this program include identities, relationships, cultural expressions, personal beliefs, orientation in space and time, fairness and development, as well as globalization and sustainability.
Students at this age are starting to discover who they are as individuals and as part of a group. They begin forming relationships based on their interests and beliefs. It is at this age that tolerance is considered a vital component of their development and is included in the lesson structure. They are also taught about globalization, and the steps taken by the different nations to live in harmony despite the cultural differences.
This level looks at the theory of knowledge. It seeks to answer the question, “how we know what we know”. Students at this point are encouraged to think deeper and to find answers to things which seem obvious and those that are not evident. For example, in the earlier years, the students may have been told the earth is round. However, this was enough at the stage based on the mental development of the pupils at that age.
During the diploma phase, students are expected to look at the evidence that shows the earth is round. They are also likely to explain why they agree or disagree with specific components or theories fronted by various scholars. The IB system of education does not focus on right and wrong. Instead, it helps students to analyze the information before them, and they have the freedom to agree or disagree with supporting reasons for their beliefs.
This educating style helps students to be innovative and risk-takers. Students at this level are trained to go out into the world and make a difference. They are taught that they have a place in society. It is up to them to go and earn their position using their intelligence, and without looking down at those with dissenting views.
Most students combine the diploma program with the career-related studies. The core elements of the career-related program include the development of personal and professional skills, training on how to navigate personal and professional hurdles, and use the available avenues to showcase their knowledge and skills. At this level, students should have an idea of their career path, how to get to where they need to be, and how to manage their successes and failures.
The IB education system has programs that are all-inclusive to cater to the developmental, educational, and career needs of the students. It is concerned with the well-being of the student and his ability to integrate into society during the initial stages, and even after completing the programs.