“Teach your children well” said Crosby, Stills, and Nash. Musical references aside, modern education has long treated students as vessels to be filled with the knowledge and skills deemed fit by both national and regional governing entities and their requirements.
Though teachers provided such knowledge and frequently assessed students based on their retention of the information, students were still moderately active in their learning; however, instruction, more often than not, was direct and lecture-oriented, leaving students with little say in their learning methods and content. Though such an approach now seems outdated and ineffective, it was meant to benefit them and the society they were to enter as an educated and skilled labor force.
Presently, various factors, from evolving technology to new approaches in parenting and learning, continue to change today’s classroom drastically. Consider, for example, the International Baccalaureate’s (IB) approach to education. It is an inquiry-based methodology in which research plays a large role. Such a program allows students to be more in control of their education than ever before. In IB courses, students are allotted the freedom to select their own learning topics based on personal interests for essays and research projects.
IB students will be challenged with learning how to manage their time and plan ahead effectively, as well as taught to produce academically honest work that cites the sources used to develop their understanding of the subject and distinguish such sources from their own ideas.
The ideas presented in the IB Mission Statement, the ten attributes of the IB learner profile, and the IB curriculum all serve to assist students in developing the attitudes, skills, and knowledge necessary to reach success in higher education and beyond. The International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme is an exciting opportunity for students to be the focus of their own education.
For more information on the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme at Damien High School, please visit www.damien-hs.edu.
John Mahon, International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme Coordinator, Damien High School