With unparalleled benefits, international baccalaureate educational programs are gaining in popularity across the country. By focusing curricula on a greater global cultural experience, children involved in these programs are exposed to “bigger picture” education. How? Let’s take a look.
According to the International Baccalaureate (IB) organization, programs focused on IB “strive to develop students who will build a better world through intercultural understanding and respect.” By incorporating international studies within the framework of daily curricula, IB schools teach children to consider larger scale imperatives.
What Is International Baccalaureate Education
The concept of IB programs lies with a focus on global thinking across all platforms and processes. While it certainly includes international language disciplines, IB studies root much deeper into the curricula than one area of discipline.
“The aim of all IB programs is to develop internationally minded people who, recognizing their common humanity and shared guardianship of the planet, help to create a better and more peaceful world.” – IBO.org.
With stress on crossing cultural borders through educational experience, IB programs create a unique, all-inclusive curriculum for students. It works by encouraging students to develop critical thinking skills that allow them to see issues on a global scale, rather than simply processing closed, local elements.
How It Works
Since IB programs are a deeper concept than simple course curriculum, they build a stronger understanding of international issues. These programs are more in-depth than studying cultural textbooks. They are a focus on meaningful cultural experiences and encourage interaction on a level far beyond the classroom.
This learning begins with language learning, as mentioned previously. The cornerstone of any IB program is to first be able to communicate effectively with others globally. This is done by teaching students in a bilingual or multi-lingual manner. Since communication is critical to accomplishing change on any level, it goes without saying that being able to communicate with a larger global population would open doors to greater changes.
Going Beyond the Languages
It’s true that foreign language learning is a crucial piece of all IB learning programs, but IB learning goes well beyond language coursework. Integrated within the curricula, IB programs must also include an interactive approach which encourages students to go beyond the textbook. These elements of the IB program are what make them stand out amongst traditional learning techniques.
By placing interactive opportunities in front of students, the IB experience gets learners out of the classroom and into situations which promote cognitive expansion. It is a means of introducing students to a broader understanding of cultures and the collective good by allowing them to develop early critical thinking skills.
“These elements challenge the student to critically consider power and privilege, and to recognize that he or she holds this planet and its resources in trust for future generations… (it is) a focus on moving beyond awareness and understanding to engagement, action and bringing about meaningful change.” – IBO.org.
The International Difference
The difference between IB learning and traditional educational experiences lies within the method of developing independent thinking and actions. By immersing students in an international mindset, the difference goes well beyond traditional standardized learning.
Rather than a strict focus on textbook curricula, students are taught to think on a broader scale across all coursework. In other words, they are taught to think (and act) beyond the book. They also learn to think and act beyond localized cultures and issues as well, which is a skill that will be critical for future development.
The Benefits of IB Learning
International Baccalaureate programs offer a wide range of benefits to students. While some may be obvious – such as giving them a broader perspective on global and cultural issues – there are many more benefits to consider as well.
With bilingualism and multilingualism at the base of IB learning, students gain critical communication skills that will serve them throughout their lives and careers. By expanding their ability to communicate with other cultures, they are increasing their opportunities to make a greater impact across the globe.
Improved communication skills follow students into every aspect of life. In addition, the unique multi-cultural experiences they learn in school will allow them to not only pick up communication skills, but also critical thinking and learning skills in general.
“Students are able to take responsibility for their own learning and understand how knowledge itself is constructed… They are encouraged to try different approaches to learning and to take responsibility for their own educational progress.” – IBO.org.
This independent teaching and learning process gives students the means to apply their knowledge to real-life scenarios with greater cognitive reasoning and approach. In essence, it allows students to learn a better way to learn.
These crucial skills are assets that students will carry with them well beyond graduation. It will play a role in gaining them the best experiences with post-graduation training and education. In fact, according to the IBO.org, students who have access to International Baccalaureate programs during primary and secondary schooling have greater access to the world’s most prestigious universities after commencement.
Overall, students who attend facilities with IB programming tend to be highly attractive to top ranked universities. Why? These students offer universities a great deal of skill and development that is highly beneficial to higher education.
“IB students are more likely than their peers to complete their undergraduate degrees and pursue graduate work; and they are more likely to be engaged in various aspects of university life.” – IBO.org.
These students have such a success rate due to the independent thinking and community concern and involvement they picked up in their early years. Since IB programs encourage a look at the bigger picture and drive students to become engaged in their communities, these students are well-equipped for the academics and discipline needed to succeed during university studies.
Some of the greatest skills gained by IB students, according to IBO.org, include:
- Independent research and thinking
- Community involvement
- Multicultural understanding and concern
- Strong desire to engage and make a difference around them
A Lifetime of Learning
The scope of IB learning goes well beyond the primary and secondary years. Perhaps the greatest benefit of these programs is that they fully equip students for success throughout their lives. By opening eyes to other cultures, expanding communication, and encouraging independent thinking, IB learning is centered around instilling a greater sense of purpose and responsibility globally within our children.