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Dr Neeta Bali, Director Principal, GD Goenka World School and Dr Manisha Mehta, Head of IB Diploma Program,GD Goenka World School: IB Diploma Program- The world leader

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Today children and their parents are facing with plethora of options regarding the choice of curriculum, one should pursue which will enable them to be on the driver’s seat in the 21st century modern world which is likely to throw up unprecedented challenges. As one goes past the elementary education for their children, parents have the option of choosing the State Board, CBSE, ICSE, IGCSE or even the IB for their kids. For the Globe trotters, in the today’s jet-setting life, IB programme offers many opportunities which the other Boards miss out. We are trying to find out here, why the IB Diploma programme remains ahead of the race for children after they have completed the Middle year schooling.

Benefits of studying the IB

Let’s take a look at the historical perspective. In 1968, the IBO established its Diploma Programme (DP) to provide a challenging and rigorous education that crosses disciplinary, cultural, national and geographical boundaries. Such an education was rooted in the belief that we need to equip students to make a more just and peaceful world.

Right from the word go, IB helps the growing children to be early world learners through their Primary Years Programme (PYP). It emphasizes the children to develop the learner profile which focuses more on experiential learning. Then through its Middle Years programme, it helps children to remain inquisitive and develop right thinking skill sets. And towards the end of schooling, the IB offers its vital IB Diploma programme for children which puts them ahead of the pack, as frontline warriors to face the world in college education.

With global education being the norm of the day, the IB is so much more than simply a ticket/passport to a foreign university. IB Education is learner centric with more emphasis on skill development and context and not only on the content.

Here are some of the reasons why the IB is unique.

Character Attributes

IB learner profile tailors the student’s character and individuality. The development of the IB learner profile attributes not only influence students’ actions by strengthening their self-management, communication and social skills, but also successfully transform their ability to regard, relate and learn authentically from one another in classroom and beyond.

Academic Rigour and acceptability in various Universities

It provides a high standard of education. Students who have studied the IB Diploma Program are more likely to succeed at university, scoring higher than students from other systems since IB students are readily accepted at many colleges and universities and are also more likely to be awarded scholarships. We at GD Goenka World School, take pride in quoting the placements of our alumni in top of the line National as well as International Universities. University of Pennsylvania, University of California at Berkeley, University of Bradford, Hong Kong, Toronto, Sheffield, Boston, Urbana Champaign, British Columbia, and Glasgow are examples of renowned universities which have opened doors for our budding aspirants. Miranda House, NarseeMonjee, Gargi College, St Stephen’s, JMC, SRCC, DTU, GD Goenka and Ashoka University in India have accepted our students as all universities in India readily acknowledge IB scores for admissions.

Curriculum

The enriching IBDP curriculum stimulates academic freedom and practical study. The best part is that it does not do an early compartmentalization of subjects. Rather a holistic learning with a broad range of subjects and theory of knowledge, one of its USP, makes a student focus on the big picture and is able to interconnect subjects through the real life contexts that enhance their interest motivating them to solve challenging problems and at times making us awe at their actions and responses. Thoughtfully designed classes and close mentorship by the faculty nurtures an academically vibrant community at GDGWS. Transaction of curriculum does not happen only through conventional methods but a variety of effective teaching techniques are used like real time learning, team teaching, blended learning, flipped classroom, role play, bridge courses etc.

Equipping children to thrive as global citizens in the 21st century, IBDP CAS provides opportunities for activities that develops their skills and knowledge, reinforces positive attitudes and provides a platform for them to discover their abilities and explore areas of special interests. Participation is sports provides an opportunity to build character, develop leadership qualities, collaborate in teams, forge friendships and understand true sportsmanship. Fitness, integrated into the daily curriculum, is an integral part of the holistic education on which GDGWS prides itself. IBDP students of Grade 11 and 12 students work together and plan service at a Global Concerns project but can also include an educational course or adventure expeditions: for example, community service for the Chennai floods or Nepal earth quake victims IAYP trips.

Development of Skills

IBDP curriculum imbibes skills and strengths which groom the pupils as global citizens who can successfully identify and attain their goals. Students are groomed to become leaders in their lives with discipline and integrity. GDGWS is driven by passion for excellence in education and here the traits of IB, tolerance, compassion, self-awareness, open-mindedness and the like, get embedded with a variety of activities that children have to do as a part of their academic life. A particular subject content or knowledge is bound to become obsolete with the passage of time but the skill sets we instil in children will remain with them and endure in the future. The problem solving skills, the reasoning skills, the interpretation skills, the creative skills, the social skills, self-management skills are definitely more important than the knowledge and content of subjects in sustaining a success in one’s life. Actually, the Math or Science or any other subject that one learns, to earn those degrees, are hardly put to use effectively. It is the emotional intelligence – developed through self-awareness, empathy, handling of relationships, self-motivation and resilience that helps children remain afloat all through the life, enabling them to lead a balanced and successful one, whereas the Intelligence Quotient maybe just important for clearing an exam, wriggling out of a bad situation. The IB Diploma program (IBDP) offered in our school to our students, precisely emphasizes these aspects and caters to the development of skills and the right attitudes in students preparing our children for facing the impediments in life and helping them make this World a better place to live in.

Assessment

The Student is the centre of any assessments that IB undertakes. Each subject is both internally as well as externally assessed. The internal assessment is marked by the teachers and moderated by the IB examiners. The assessments judge a range of skills like analysis, evaluation, creativity besides knowledge and understanding. The established assessment expertise, rigor, and quality control are built into the programmes. In fact, recent Covid-19 outbreak, has lead IB to cancel their May 20 exams. This has been possible because of the inbuilt system which evaluates students throughout the year.IB Curriculum does not encourage rote learning. The pedagogy makes children teach subjects through problem-solving methodology rather that learn only certain defined content/concepts. Real life learning helps children learn and retain concepts more easily than rote learning.

Motivation

IB certainly motivates students better than other education systems. We believe that, In the IB scheme of pedagogy, a positive milieu is created where students feel motivated and a sense of enquiry is generated in them. They further develop the zeal and creativity to solve real challenging problems. To cite an example, Our IBDP students organized an international GDGWS MUN in 2018, with over 300 delegates which resulted in the development of camaraderie and organization skills among students. This also yielded the generation of funds through sponsors. It may be noted that this was completely students driven exercise.

Top down approach

In IB DP a variety of instructional approaches are used based on the needs of their students. Some courses are taught better through lecture, while others may require class participation and direct interaction through laboratory and field trips. Many a times atop-down teaching style is used which is very effective by providing students a large view of a subject, immersing them in the big picture without explaining the components that make up the subject. For example, in Language acquisition class, a top-down approach would begin by immersing students in all aspects of learning a new language(Example Spanish, English, German or French) immediately, through topics like Culture, health, society etc. including writing, reading and pronunciation. Students would not be taught the intricacies of vowels, nouns and pronouns first, instead, they would be plunged into the totality of learning a new language and then gradually learn the building blocks that make up that new language.

Conclusion

So it is concluded that the IB Diploma remains a cut above the other systems of education in the world owing to its 360 degrees approach to teaching and learning.

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